Energy Networks Australia has welcomed a commitment by the Labor Party to establish a National Hydrogen Plan.
National plan promise supports Hydrogen as fuel of the future
Heatwaves and energy supply explained - Summer 2019
With heatwave conditions forecast across most eastern mainland states and South Australia this week, Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Council have released a fact sheet on potential impacts on the energy system.
Energy networks map customer savings
Energy Networks Australia has released new interactive maps of Australia’s energy grid to help identify optimal areas for new renewable projects and demand management, ultimately saving customers money in power bills.
COAG enables a more connected clean-energy future
Energy Networks Australia has welcomed support from the COAG Energy Council for a national hydrogen strategy and a streamlined process to deliver a more connected electricity grid.
CEO Andrew Dillon said the COAG Energy Council direction to progress the Group 1 projects in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Integrated System Plan was an important step towards delivering better flows of power across the National Electricity Market (NEM).
“Around the world, the logical response to growing levels of variable renewable generation is to have a more connected electricity system,” Mr Dillon said
“A more connected grid that links states will provide significant benefits to customers - better reliability and increased competition in the wholesale energy market.
“The overall savings to the electricity system from timely transmission investment have been estimated by AEMO to be about $1.2 billion – savings for customers off future power bills.”
AER rate of return decision disappointing
A decision by the energy regulator to make material cuts to network returns is not in the long-term interests of consumers, Energy Networks CEO Andrew Dillon said today.
“This is a short-sighted decision that is inconsistent with market evidence and could end up delivering perverse results for customers,” Mr Dillon said.
Renewable gas a step closer with Australian first hydrogen test facility
Energy Networks Australia has welcomed the nation’s first test facility to trial 100 per cent hydrogen in preparation for its use by appliances and in existing gas distribution networks.
Networks delivering productivity improvements for customers
Australia’s electricity network businesses have achieved significant productivity improvements in 2016-17, ensuring that consumers pay no more than necessary on their power bills.
Reports released by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) yesterday show that productivity among electricity distributors has increased by 2.7 per cent, while productivity in transmission businesses rose a record-setting 5.8 per cent.
New Energy Networks Australia Chair Appointed
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon has welcomed Tim Rourke, CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy Chief Executive Officer, as the new Chair of the Energy Networks Australia Board.
Mr Rourke was elected yesterday at a full meeting of the Energy Networks Australia Board.
“Tim is a dynamic industry leader who has already made a valuable contribution as deputy chair for the past two years and I look forward to working with him more closely as Board Chair,” Mr Dillon said.
The Board also elected Australian Gas Infrastructure Group Chief Executive Officer Ben Wilson as Deputy Chair.
Mr Rourke succeeds Nino Ficca, AusNet Services Managing Director, who has served as Chair for the past two years.
Mr Rourke thanked Mr Ficca for his committed service.
“Nino’s wisdom and experience has served the board and our organisation well during a period of significant change in our sector,” Mr Rourke said.
Labor support for a more connected grid welcome
Energy Networks Australia has welcomed a Federal Opposition commitment to supporting new electricity transmission development as part of its energy policy announced today.
CEO Andrew Dillon said the proposal for a $5 billion investment fund to support projects aligned with those identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in its Integrated System Plan (ISP) was a positive move.
“Around the world, we are seeing a move to greater connection between generation sources and customers as grids modernise to integrate more variable renewable generation,” Mr Dillon said.
“Australia needs better connection between regions and across states so energy can be more efficiently moved around the national system. A key benefit of this is more competition in wholesale markets, which means downward pressure on prices for customers.”
Network innovation powering our energy future
Energy Networks Australia has today recognised network businesses that have shown leadership in innovation with the announcement of the finalists for the 2018 Industry Innovation Award. Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon congratulated the four finalists, Essential Energy, Evoenergy, Jemena and TasNetworks.
Energy Networks Australia welcomes NSW transmission infrastructure strategy
Energy Networks Australia has welcomed the NSW Transmission Infrastructure Strategy released today by the NSW Government.
The Strategy sets out to boost NSW's interconnection with Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, increase energy capacity and streamline regulation for a modernised grid.
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said NSW's plan was a vital step towards a more integrated energy system that would deliver greater benefit to customers through a more resilient grid and more competitive wholesale markets.
Joint statement: Addressing all parts of the energy trilemma is essential
Ahead of the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council meeting this week, representatives of Australia’s small and large businesses; conservation groups; energy network, supply and services sectors; investors; property sector; and social services sector have together agreed that driving down electricity costs is urgent, and that addressing emissions and reliability are not only critical in their own right but are essential parts of achieving cost reduction.
Electricity costs are a key part of the “energy trilemma”, together with reliability and emissions reductions. Reducing electricity costs requires investment in electricity supply and unlocking this investment requires credible and stable policy. Investors will only view policy as durable if it effectively addresses all parts of the trilemma, including meeting emissions reduction commitments.
We support Australia’s full participation in the Paris Agreement and deployment of effective, efficient and equitable plans in energy and the rest of the economy to deliver on Australia’s Paris commitments. Continuing bipartisan commitment to Paris sends a clear long-term signal to investors and contributes to the global solution needed to minimise climate change. A major global transition towards lower emissions and ultimately net zero emissions is both necessary and inevitable, and in Australia’s electricity sector a low emissions transition is already underway.
Irrigators council misleading on network profit report
Claims by the National Irrigators’ Council that profits made by energy network companies are $2.6 billion ‘higher than they should be’ are a misrepresentation of facts, Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said today.
Mr Dillon said when network businesses earned profits above the allowed return set by the Australian Energy Regulator, it reflected efficiencies made in their operations, not more money out of customer pockets.
In fact, under the incentive-based regulatory model, efficiency gains (reflected in higher than forecast profits) are returned to customers by way of reductions in prices.
Hydrogen heats up in Queensland
Energy Networks Australia has welcomed the Queensland Government’s support for the development of hydrogen as an alternative clean-energy fuel source.
In response to the paper, Advancing Queensland’s hydrogen industry, Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said hydrogen could play an important role as Australia moves to decarbonise gas and electricity and it was pleasing to see the Queensland Government’s interest.
“Hydrogen has enormous potential and on a national level we’ve seen states, energy networks, renewable energy bodies and universities invest millions of dollars into research and development and hydrogen pilot projects,” he said.
Stand-alone power systems: Unlocking the win-win
Energy Networks Australia is calling for regulation change to allow network businesses to install stand-alone power systems for some rural and remote energy customers.
CEO Andrew Dillon said such a move would mean lower power prices for all customers and better reliability for customers at the fringe of the electricity grid.
“Australia needs to utilise new energy technologies and doing so can be a win:win – lower power bills and better reliability,” Mr Dillon said
Longer notice period for generator closure needed
Energy Networks Australia is calling for an increase in the notice period companies are required to provide the market when closing electricity generators.
In its submission today to the Australian Energy Market Commission, Energy Networks Australia has recommended the time-of-closure notice be extended from three to five years to allow networks enough time to build infrastructure to support new electricity generation.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said giving the market more time would ensure the whole system could cope when existing generation was retired.
“Three years may be enough notice when the replacement generation is easily incorporated into the existing grid, but it’s a tight squeeze if the retirement triggers a need for new infrastructure such as interconnectors,” he said.
Better visibility of renewable grid connections welcome
Energy Networks Australia has welcomed the decision to establish a register of rooftop solar and batter storage systems for the national electricity market.
Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said new rules were vital to ensure network businesses could better service customers and manage the increasing amounts of distributed energy resources (DER) connecting to the grid.
“As household solar and storage continues to grow, especially with state-based government subsidies on offer, a register will provide networks and the market operator with far better visibility of distributed energy resources – that will be vital in managing a more distributed network,” he said.
Transforming energy sector with future skilling
Energy Networks Australia will discuss new thinking about jobs and careers in the 21st century at today’s industry leadership forum.
Moderated by prominent journalist and author Kerry O’Brien, industry leaders will focus on big picture issues in recruiting and retaining workers while dealing with the challenges of an ageing workforce and competing for the best talent.
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said with the energy sector transforming rapidly, it was imperative that it developed a more agile workforce and network businesses were responding to the challenge
“Energy networks are managing rapid change and they need the best of both worlds in their staff – people who have the core technical capabilities but who are also innovative and progressive thinkers,” he said.
Energy Networks showcasing better consumer engagement
An opportunity to showcase how energy networks are putting consumers at the centre of their business launches today.
Energy Networks Australia, in partnership with Energy Consumers Australia, has opened applications for the 2018 Annual Energy Network Consumer Engagement Award.
Rosemary Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer of Energy Consumers Australia, said the award recognised network businesses that made significant effort to engage with consumers and improve outcomes for households and small businesses.
The Annual Industry Innovation Award 2018 is also being launched today.
Networks welcome new Energy Minister
Energy Networks Australia welcomes the appointment of Angus Taylor as the federal Minster for Energy and thanks Minister Frydenberg for his contribution to the energy sector.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said the energy portfolio is a challenging one and he looked forward to working with Minister Taylor on helping move energy policy forward.
“Never has there been a time when there’s been such a focus on the sector, with Australia’s complex energy system transforming rapidly,” Mr Dillon said.
“Networks will continue to play our part in tackling energy affordability. Over the last three years, network charges for an average Australian household have fallen by $83."
Hydrogen hits the road
Energy Networks Australia welcomes the release of the National Hydrogen Roadmap, which sets out a blueprint for the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia, showing a cost competitive industry is on the horizon.
Energy Networks Australia was a member of the CSIRO led Roadmap steering committee and the network sector contributed $80,000 towards its development.
Chief Executive Officer of Energy Networks Australia Andrew Dillon said across the sector there are many applications for hydrogen.
“We proactively engaged with CSIRO to identify the role networks could play in reducing emissions from the use of gas within homes and industry."
Networks embrace hydrogen opportunities
Energy Networks Australia welcomes the release of a report by Australia’s Chief Scientist which further promotes the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon is a member of the Hydrogen Strategy Group, led by Dr Alan Finkel that produced the COAG Energy Council report Hydrogen for Australia’s future.
“There’s been a growing focus right across the sector on the significant opportunities hydrogen presents for Australia,” said Mr Dillon.
Joint statement on the National Energy Guarantee
A broad array of Australia’s energy stakeholders today called on the COAG Energy Council to approve the Energy Security Board’s framework for the National Energy Guarantee and commence changes to the National Electricity Law, even as debate continues on the appropriate emissions reduction targets for the electricity sector.
Action is needed on many fronts to ensure Australians have the affordable, reliable and clean energy we demand. Deep policy uncertainty hangs over electricity investment beyond the current national Renewable Energy Target. An efficient and durable mechanism that integrates energy and climate policy will greatly reduce this uncertainty.
Flexible regulation could benefit customers
Energy Networks Australia has released a discussion paper that explores regulatory changes that could lead to better outcomes for both customers and businesses.
Released today at the ‘Power of collaboration’ seminar in Brisbane, the ‘Why TOTEX’ paper considers a simplified approach to the way networks’ proposed expenditure is assessed by the Australian Energy Regulator.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said the proposed ‘TOTEX’ model could give network businesses greater flexibility in responding to customer needs.
“Under the current system, operating expenditure and capital expenditure are assessed separately to derive the network business’ total revenue for a regulatory period,” Mr Dillon said. It’s a complex approach that can create incentives to favour one form of expenditure over another.
“This report proposes allocating total expenditure in one bucket to give networks a clear incentive to choose the most efficient and appropriate energy solutions for customers.
“The TOTEX approach doesn’t favour one form of spending over the other and is designed to encourage a flexible response by networks to the risks and opportunities created by the energy system transformation.”
Mr Dillon said the need for more flexible regulation had been promoted in a range of reports, including the Energy Networks Australia-CSIRO Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap, the 2017 Finkel Review and most recently, the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry.
“Having a unified TOTEX allowance would reduce complexity and streamline incentive schemes that have characterised network regulation over the past decade,” he said.
“This conversation is about updating the tools, not removing protections. Any future framework would still hold networks accountable, with the regulator overseeing proposed costs and any price increases. Networks would still have to ensure business decisions align with customers’ needs.”
Mr Dillon said the TOTEX model was being adopted internationally, where regulatory approaches were being modernised to improve customer outcomes at a time of rapid change.
“We recognise that there will be diverse views. Our goal is to consult and look at alternative regulatory frameworks to ensure governance of our energy system evolves to meet customers’ needs. Doing nothing at a time of such great transformation is not an option,” he said.
Consultation period extended for integrating solar and storage into the grid
Overwhelming interest in Energy Networks Australia's joint work with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) on how best to integrate solar and energy storage into electricity networks has resulted in an extended consultation period for stakeholders to have their say.
Launched in June 2018, the Open Energy Networks Consultation Paper will now accept submissions from stakeholders until 10 August 2018.
The consultation paper proposes options for improving the electricity system to ensure household solar and storage work in harmony and deliver the most value for all customers, helping to bolster quality and reliability of supply and lower household power bills.
A series of stakeholder workshops on the Open Energy Networks Consultation Paper were filled to capacity in Melbourne and Sydney this week, with a broad range of participants from the energy sector, government, private enterprise and community groups keen to contribute to the consultation process.
Energy Networks Australia Acting CEO Tamatha Smith said the overwhelming interest from stakeholders across Australia wanting to take part in the Open Energy Networks consultation and share their views was evidence of the public appetite for conversation about modernising our grid.
“The huge uptake of rooftop solar systems and the increasing growth of both household batteries and electric vehicles poses great opportunity, but also significant technical challenges for the distribution and transmission of electricity,” she said.
“This is changing how our energy system has been designed to work for more than a century - from a centralised one-way flow of electricity to consumer to a decentralised system, where households can feed power back into the grid.
“A re-design of the system to better accommodate this will provide opportunities for customers to have more choice and control of their energy needs, including how they interact with energy markets.”
Ms Smith said fully booked stakeholder workshops had been hosted in Melbourne and Sydney this week and the Perth workshop in Late July was already waitlisted.
“We've also had requests for a further workshop in Brisbane,” she said.
“This level of engagement demonstrates how important it is to our communities, businesses and governments to ensure our grid can handle the increasing amount of decentralised renewable energy.“
The effective management or ‘optimisation’ of a decentralised energy system would not only support its safe and reliable integration into the grid, but also unlock the true value of customer investment in these resources. However, it was also important that all customers could benefit from this release of value and it was equitable for all.
“We must take action for everyone, especially consumers, and the public's desire for information, collaboration and solutions is clear,” Ms Smith said.
Media contact: Sharon Kalina, 0416 317 183
Integrating solar and storage into the grid: have your say
Stakeholder input is being sought on how best to integrate solar and energy storage into electricity networks to help ensure quality and reliability of supply and lower household power bills. Released today by Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Open Energy Networks Consultation Paper proposes options for improving the electricity system to ensure household solar and storage work in harmony and deliver the most value for all customers.
Network modernisation will deliver customer benefits
Australia’s energy networks’ role in securing a more reliable, affordable and stable energy system has never been more critical, Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said at the Energy Network 2018 conference opening in Sydney this morning.
Mr Dillon said the opportunities for network businesses and benefits to customers presented by the transformation and modernisation of the energy system were significant.
New guidelines will make connecting to the grid easier
Energy Networks Australia has today released the first in a suite of guidelines for network companies to support the fair and efficient connection of solar and battery storage to the grid.
The national Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Grid Connection Guidelines Framework and Principles sets out the principles, objectives, structure and framework for networks to ensure consistency in how household and business solar and batteries are integrated into the grid.
Australia’s energy transformation: network report card
A report card published today by Energy Networks Australia has found networks have made significant progress on the transformation to meet customer demand for innovative, lower-cost energy solutions.
Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the 2018 Report Card showed the implementation of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap had moved forward in all five priority areas identified since the Roadmap’s publication one year ago.
The only area that had not progressed as quickly as network businesses would like was developing the government and sector consensus needed to support fairer energy pricing.
“Better value for money is a priority and further reform is desperately needed if we are to enable the move to a fairer pricing system and save customers billions of dollars over coming decades,” Mr Dillon said.
“We need governments to step up and support networks as we implement pricing that gives our customers the right incentives to unlock savings for all users.”
Developed in partnership with the CSIRO, 2017’s Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap paved the way with practical, forward-looking solutions to address the complex challenges facing our nation’s electricity system.
Setting out 45 milestones and 158 actions, the Roadmap provides a clear pathway for network businesses to respond to the evolving environment with the agility, innovation and collaboration required to secure Australia’s energy future.
The five priority areas the Report Card examined were:
• Improving trust with customers
• Implementing new services to achieve system security
• Securing a stable carbon policy
• Incentivising efficiency and innovation
• Developing essential information tools for a more cost effective grid.
One year on, the snapshot review found significant work had been done to strengthen collaboration between networks and other key stakeholders to ensure greater information sharing to better meet customer needs.
One key project being developed with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will deliver Open Energy Networks, a guideline for integrating new technologies such as batteries and solar into a modernised grid.
Cyber security capability has also been prioritised by networks, with further innovation expected over the next 12 months to deliver additional Finkel recommendations supporting the continued protection of Australia’s critical energy infrastructure and systems.
“Overall, I commend Australian energy networks for the significant progress made in such a short time,” Mr Dillon said.
“However, we certainly can’t be complacent. More work needs to be done – particularly by government on tariff reform – but I know energy networks will continue to work together, with government and with our customers to build a smarter and more affordable energy future for all Australians.”
The Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap 2018 report card can be viewed here.
Energy networks to participate in tax review
Energy Networks Australia and its members will actively participate in the Australian Energy Regulator’s tax review announced by Minister Frydenberg this morning.
Energy Network Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said that while a review of the issue was appropriate, it was essential that regulatory changes were in the long-term interests of customers and not knee-jerk political reactions.
“Networks are not gouging customers,” he said.
“The current benchmark approach to tax allowances is set by the AER to avoid customers in different suburbs paying different charges and the risk of sudden price rises when there is a change of ownership,” he said.
“Many knee-jerk policy decisions over recent decades affecting energy networks have led to poor consumer outcomes.
“We can’t go down that path again.”
States can't go it alone on energy
Opinion Editorial by Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, published 19 April 2018
There’s no such thing as green electrons or brown ones. Your TV and fridge run just the same on solar power from Queensland, wind power from South Australia (SA), hydropower from Tasmania or coal power from the Hunter Valley. Interstate sharing of electricity makes power cheaper and more reliable.
Keep working on the National Energy Guarantee
With the COAG Energy Council meeting later this week to consider the National Energy Guarantee, our organisations call for further progress to be made towards designing a workable solution which addresses emissions reduction, reliability, and affordability across our energy system. Australian industry and households alike require competitively priced energy. Reliable supply is critical to our economy and society. And we all have a stake in achieving Australia’s emissions goals to combat climate change. A durable policy settlement to resolve energy and climate policy uncertainty remains essential to delivering on all three aspects of ‘the energy trilemma’.
$26M funding to advance hydrogen fuelled network
Energy Networks Australia welcomes today’s announcement of $26.25 million in funding from the Commonwealth Government towards the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Australia’s gas network businesses will contribute $8 million towards the venture, in addition to investing in trials that will demonstrate how hydrogen technology can be used in our existing gas networks. “The more than $90 million Centre will undertake cutting edge research that will accelerate a decarbonised gas industry”, Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said.
Statement on the passing of Terry Effeney
One of the Australian energy industry’s greatest contributors, Terry Effeney, passed away on the weekend.
Energy Networks Australia Chair, Nino Ficca, said he was saddened to hear the news and conveyed the industry’s condolences to the Effeney family.
Response to Grattan Institute Report
Energy Networks Australia has acknowledged the latest Grattan Institute report Down to the wire: A sustainable electricity network for Australia and its rejection of risky regulatory intervention that would impact all energy customers.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon said the report correctly concluded that intervention to force write-downs of all network regulated asset bases would not be an effective way to bring consumer costs down.
“Much of the Grattan report’s analysis is based on assumptions that are challengeable, however the message is clear – forcing a broad write-down of all network asset values will inevitably be detrimental to customers, as it increases regulatory risks and financing costs for all network businesses,” he said.
Consultation launched on new approach to network regulation
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER), Energy Consumers Australia and Energy Networks Australia have today released NewReg, an enhanced, more open approach to electricity network regulation to be tested via a trial with Victorian distribution network AusNet Services.
The NewReg approach aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of network regulation, increase consumer trust and confidence in the process, and deliver the outcomes that consumers most value when determining how much they pay for network services.
The NewReg project will run a ‘live’ public engagement process throughout 2018, where consultation on the approach will happen in parallel with a ‘live’ trial to enable stakeholders to contribute to the development of the approach in real time.
Energy networks deploy emergency team to restore Tonga’s power
Australian energy networks have sent a team of experts to help restore Tonga’s devastated electricity network after last week’s Tropical Cyclone Gita.
Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said a team of experts from across the nation’s networks has partnered with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to repair the extensive damage across Tonga’s mainland.
Hydrogen technology trials greenlighted with $4.9m funding
Energy Networks Australia welcomes the announcement of $4.9m funding support for Australian Gas Infrastructure Group as a key milestone in efforts to decarbonise Australia’s gas networks.
The Hydrogen Park project will demonstrate the potential to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and inject it into gas networks. It will then be used to power the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide
“South Australia leads the way when it comes to renewable generation,” said Andrew Dillon, CEO of Energy Networks Australia.
IEA & ESB outline our pathway to a positive energy future
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) review of Australia’s energy policies and the Energy Security Board’s (ESB) National Energy Guarantee consultation paper combine to demonstrate what we can learn from other countries and strategies to address Australia’s energy policy challenges.Energy Networks Australia welcomes two reports released today that outline Australia’s way forward to manage our energy challenge.
“Australians have a right to expect safe and reliable energy, even as we reduce emissions,” said Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon.
“We welcome the IEA report’s focus on integrating variable renewables into our grids, its emphasis on the need for a transformation of our energy distribution systems and identification of the need for effective natural gas markets,” he said.
Grid modernisation report: welcome bipartisanship
Energy Networks Australia today welcomed the “Powering Our Future” report by the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy.
Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon said the report recognises that the future of our electricity system requires big thinking and collaboration to progress secure, reliable and affordable energy.
“We must get this right, and the way to do that is through co-operation to successfully navigate the transformation,” he said.
Decarbonising Australia’s gas networks
Decarbonising gas in Australia by 2050 is achievable with the use of hydrogen, biogas and carbon capture and storage (CCS) applied to Australia’s extensive gas network infrastructure, a suite of reports today released by Energy Networks Australia has found.
Building on the landmark Gas Vision 2050, a new study by Deloitte Access Economics assesses how these technologies can be harnessed in Australia to meet our energy needs in a decarbonised future.
“Our nation’s gas networks are a colossal system, delivering just as much energy as the electricity network, and in some cases, such as Victoria, even more,” said Andrew Dillon, Energy Networks Australia CEO.
New scheme supports smarter ways to keep the lights on
Customers will benefit from changes aimed at supporting innovative ways to manage electricity demand by unlocking the benefits of breakthrough technologies.
The Australian Energy Regulator’s new Demand Management Incentive Scheme and Innovation Allowance Mechanism for electricity distribution networks were released today.
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said these regulatory changes better incorporate demand management and innovation into the ‘toolkit’ networks can use to provide customers with reliable and affordable electricity.
Plug and play on the way for renewable connections
A more consumer-friendly approach to connect renewables to the grid is the ambition of the new suite of guidelines being developed by Energy Networks Australia.
Standardising and streamlining the connection of next generation technology has been identified as a key priority by networks, customers and industry stakeholders.
The Distributed Energy Resources National Connection Guidelines will provide a consistent set of protocols to connect and integrate a range of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) with Australia’s electricity networks.
Energy Networks Australia’s CEO Andrew Dillon said that better facilitating customer owned resources into the grid is essential.
Record network productivity leading to lower power bills
A report released today has found that Australian electricity networks are improving their productivity at the fastest rate in more than a decade, leading to lower customer bills.
The Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) annual benchmarking report tracks the performance of electricity networks and this data informs the amount networks charge their customers.
Welcoming today’s report as an indicator that the hard work by energy networks over a number of years is bearing fruit, Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said that Australians want answers as to why their bills continue to spike.
Consumer engagement and innovation award recipients announced
Three initiatives to improve outcomes for energy consumers received Consumer Engagement and Innovation Awards at Energy Network Australia’s 2017 Annual Dinner.
The recipient of the Energy Consumers Australia, Consumer Engagement Award, ElectraNet engaged early, with Board-level backing to improve the value of electricity transmission services for South Australian customers. ElectraNet’s principled, robust and early engagement approach helped it navigate the impacts of the September 2016 system black event.
Mondo Power, together with their partners, harnessed community engagement and collaboration to empower the Victorian Yackandandah community to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2022. It received the Engagement Innovator Award in partnership with AusNet Services and Totally Renewable Yackandandah.
The Salisbury trial, an Adelaide-based project in which 100 customers received battery storage systems resulting in reduced customer bills, backup power, and deferment of a $2.9M network upgrade. It received the Industry Innovation Award, presented by the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.
Andrew Dillon appointed new CEO of Energy Networks Australia
Energy Networks Australia is pleased to announce Mr Andrew Dillon’s appointment as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Energy Networks Australia Chairman Nino Ficca announced the decision after a comprehensive executive search and competitive selection process throughout Australia.
“Mr Dillon has held senior roles in advocacy and policy development in the energy sector, most recently General Manager Corporate Affairs at AusNet Services,” Mr Ficca said.
“We are pleased to have someone of Mr Dillon’s experience lead Energy Networks Australia at this crucial time as energy network businesses work to collaboratively progress opportunities that changing technology and services offer our customers.
Scoping study is a welcome step towards a more connected energy future
Consumer engagement and innovation recognised in new energy awards
Australia’s best energy innovators and consumer engagement practice will be recognised by two new awards at Energy Networks Australia’s Annual Dinner on 29 November 2017: the Energy Network Industry Innovation Award; and the Energy Consumers Australia, Consumer Engagement Award.
Finalists in the Energy Network Industry Innovation Award category include projects to foster the energy experts of the future, trial battery storage systems in 100 homes in South Australia, pilot ways to make power more reliable in regional Australia and to better configure stand-alone power systems operating independently of the grid.
Finalists in the Energy Consumers Australia, Consumer Engagement Award include initiatives by network businesses to engage with customers about their needs and preferences early and well-ahead of the formal revenue setting process, to explore new deliberative techniques to drive a better, more open conversation between networks and customers, and to partner with local groups on community power projects.
On behalf of all Australians COAG needs to develop the National Energy Guarantee
Representatives of Australia’s businesses, communities, environment, energy industry and workers are calling on the Commonwealth and States to work together in good faith and a spirit of compromise to make further development of the National Energy Guarantee (the Guarantee) their top priority.
Australia is suffering unsustainably high electricity prices and rising emissions, and our reliability and cost challenges will worsen if the retirement of ageing generators is not managed well. The new private investment needed to turn the situation around will not be forthcoming without confidence in a credible, scalable, integrated and enduring long-term energy and climate policy framework.
To be a success, any framework needs both to sustain broad political support and to address the energy trilemma, supporting a clean and reliable energy system at the lowest sustainable cost. The Guarantee is only a concept at this point, with much development required. But we are hopeful that this further work will identify that the proposed mechanism can deliver. Importantly, there are no apparent alternatives at present that are both potentially functional and potentially acceptable to all sides of politics.
Networks map path for a smarter, decentralised grid
Interactive maps of the Australian electricity grid to support more reliable, cleaner and local energy solutions have been released today in a collaboration between research agencies, government and industry.
The Network Opportunity Maps provide detailed information to encourage local renewable energy, battery storage and smart demand management in the Australian electricity grid.
“Energy Networks are excited about the potential for these maps to help build a smarter and more reliable grid, enabling alignment of customer assets to avoid spending more on poles and wires in the future,” Energy Networks Australia interim CEO, Andrew Dillon said.
Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) CEO Ivor Frischknecht said better information about the grid will help develop vibrant markets for new energy services.
“The Network Opportunity Maps complement the forthcoming Demand Management Incentive Scheme for network businesses, and ARENA’s three-year demand response trial projects. These initiatives should lead to creative solutions to reduce network costs and improve grid relability,” Mr Frischknecht said
Five millionth customer to connect to gas
Focus on security welcome – but will it endure?
The focus on reliability and security in the new National Energy Guarantee announced today has been welcomed by Energy Networks Australia, but policy stability is essential if we are to see downward pressure on energy bills.
“While the Government’s commitments to target reliability and system security are important, any policy can only succeed if it can garner a broad political commitment that lasts beyond a single election cycle,” Energy Networks Australian Interim CEO, Andrew Dillon said.
“The measures announced today will need careful review, but stable energy and carbon policy will help meet the grid modernisation challenge, keep the lights on and make power bills more affordable.
Spotlight on mental health for the energy sector
A Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy for the energy network sector will be released today as part of a national energy Mental Health and Wellbeing forum in Melbourne.
Today’s seminar will include presentations from Dr Tom Nehmy, an award-winning clinical psychologist and Mr Mitch McPherson, 2017 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year and founder of SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.
Energy Networks Australian Interim CEO, Andrew Dillon said the rapid transformation of the energy sector has created well-recognised opportunities and challenges for the industry.
Joint media release: Network innovation: new report confirms ambition, but barriers exist
A new report released today confirms the urgent need for electricity networks to innovate in order to meet customer needs into the future.
Deloitte’s Innovation in Electricity Networks report assesses the state of innovation within Australian electricity networks based on a survey of 17 electricity network businesses.
The report has identified a need for greater investment in transformational innovation, including distributed energy resources, battery storage, multi-flow networks, demand and energy management, and advanced data analytics and automation.
Roadmapping the future of Australia’s electricity network
Energy Networks Australia and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency have joined forces in Melbourne today to generate ideas that will help determine how we operate the electricity networks of the future.
With the continued rise of solar photovoltaic (PV) and the growth in batteries, this ideate session will look at ‘grid orchestration’ for the networks of tomorrow.
Energy Networks Australia Interim CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the transition to a system with far more distributed generation and storage provides many opportunities for energy customers but also represents challenges that we need to act on now.
“The CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia Electricity Transformation Network Roadmap demonstrates how the successful integration of these new network services could see $16 billion in network infrastructure investment avoided by 2050,” Mr Dillon said.
“Networks could buy grid support from customers with annual payments worth $1.1 billion within 10 years.
“However, electricity distribution systems need to evolve in order to manage the technical challenges created by two-way energy flows.
“Today’s workshop brings together a range of experts to explore innovative ways to ensure the grid remains reliable and secure into the future.”
The Australian Energy Market Operator forecasts that by as early as 2026, rooftop solar capacity in South Australia will be enough to supply 100 percent of the state’s demand during minimum demand periods.
ARENA’s innovative workshop series A-Lab brings together industry participants from across the energy sector to troubleshoot and engineer ways to adapt the grid, reduce network costs and better integrate new technologies.
Participants at today’s A-Lab workshop are exploring the future design requirements of electricity distribution systems. They will also look at ways to encourage the alignment of industry projects to accelerate the network transformation.
For media enquiries, please contact:
ARENA: Anna Whitelaw 0410 724 227 email@example.com
Energy Networks Australia: Taryn Bevege 0447 569 029 firstname.lastname@example.org
Networks welcome new energy marketplace project
The announcement of a new energy trading platform has been welcomed by Energy Networks Australia as an exciting opportunity to provide customers with reliable and affordable electricity into the future.
GreenSync has officially launched its deX project – a decentralised energy exchange platform which allows customers, communities and utilities to trade energy.
Energy Networks Australia Interim CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the transformation of our energy system requires innovative solutions to harness the benefits of new technologies.
“Networks could use these types of platforms to pay for the use of household solar and storage as an alternative to building poles and wires,” Mr Dillon said.
“The software also has the ability to provide Networks with greater visibility of distributed energy resources to help manage the growing number of household solar and batteries connecting to the grid.”
Energy Networks Australia is one of 37 energy industry partners supporting the initiative. Many of its members are already working with GreenSync as part of the project.
More information including project milestones is available at https://dex.energy/.
New governance a welcome step for energy security
Australian energy networks have welcomed the establishment of the new Energy Security Board recommended by the Finkel Review and announced today by the COAG Energy Council.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said the Board would be well led by the independent Chair Dr Kerry Schott AO, supported by Ms Clare Savage as Deputy Chair.
”Dr Schott is an ideal appointment for the Energy Security Board Chair. She is widely respected within the energy industry and has led systemic reforms in energy, water and other essential services,” Mr Bradley said.
“A transforming energy system needs strong, well-resourced and proactive energy market institutions, with a shared plan of action and accountability for clear milestones.”
Mr Bradley said the new Energy Security Board would support better customer outcomes through coordination between the regulator, the rule maker and the market operator for a system-wide approach to energy security.
“It should provide a single point of accountability without duplicating the key responsibilities of market bodies which are also represented on the Board,” Mr Bradley said.
The Energy Security Board also includes the heads of the existing energy market governing bodies – the Australian Energy Market Operator, Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Energy Market Commission.
The Finkel Review recommended that after three years consideration should be given to giving the Energy Security Board statutory functions.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029 email@example.com
Step change in innovation needed for energy customers
Customers could miss out on benefits of new technologies if regulation doesn’t keep pace with a transforming energy system, Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said today.
A new Network Innovation Discussion Paper will be released today at the Energy Networks Australia seminar, Evolving Faster: Regulating Transformed Energy Markets.
The paper seeks feedback on options for an Australian Network Innovation Scheme similar to that used in the United Kingdom to promote breakthrough technologies and systems, while maintaining security, reliability and affordability.
“The United Kingdom has been highly successful reforming regulations to encourage network innovation at a time of rapid change,” Mr Bradley said.
49 out of 50…but not a pass mark
Today’s COAG Energy Council meeting failed to deliver the certainty needed for lower energy bills, security and Australia’s emissions targets.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley welcomed Ministerial decisions to implement most of the Finkel Review recommendations, but noted the hard work was yet to be done.
“Ministers have delivered major reforms with Finkel recommendations such as the establishment of an Energy Security Board, energy security requirements and Generator Reliability obligations,” Mr Bradley said.
Transport must play its part in a cleaner economy
Proposals for Australian vehicle emissions standards to catch up with global markets are critical for a whole of economy approach to decarbonisation.
“The decarbonisation of the Australian economy requires all sectors to play their part,” Energy Networks Australia CEO, John Bradley said.
“While the focus has been on the electricity generation sector, there are also opportunities for decarbonising transport in Australia –the road transport sector accounted for 79 million tonnes of CO2-e in 2015, or 85% of total transport emissions. Light vehicles accounted for 72 per cent of road transport emissions,” Mr Bradley said.
Media Release - Gas industry to capture carbon-free fuels
New sources of gas supply can power Australia’s long-term gas future in a decarbonising energy system, the national Gas Vision 2050 Seminar will hear today.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said the industry was focussed on the urgent need to address customer confidence in affordable, secure supplies today and the long-term need to introduce new low or zero emission sources to the gas network.
“Three transformational technologies – hydrogen, biogas and carbon capture and storage – have the potential to drive the gas decarbonisation journey in Australia,” Mr Bradley said.
Gas industry leaders will hear from Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg at today’s seminar in Melbourne.
An international expert on transforming gas networks, Dan Sadler of Northern Gas Networks, will detail plans to convert the UK city of Leeds natural gas supply to hydrogen.
“On a cold winter’s day, 90 per cent of the UK’s energy for heat, light and power comes from the gas network,” Mr Sadler said.
“Incrementally converting the UK gas grid to hydrogen would be a major step towards meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets in a way that is technically possible and economically viable. It would provide secure, highly skilled, long term jobs and prosperity for the UK for decades to come.
“Australia has an incredible and unique opportunity when considering the onset of a hydrogen economy. Independently it can provide domestic energy requirements with clean hydrogen, at scale, utilising technology available around the world today.”
Mr Bradley said gas in Australia was meeting almost half our household energy needs with low emissions and playing a vital role in power system security.
“Hydrogen is primed to play an important part in the decarbonisation of Australian gas, as industry leads innovation efforts to capture the potential of carbon-free fuels,” Mr Bradley said.
“With massive growth in renewable energy in Australia, our gas networks and science agencies are looking at the potential to produce and store hydrogen in gas networks, to help support intermittent renewables.
“A number of industry-led research and development projects are already underway and the South Australian Government has just announced funding for a hydrogen-fuelled bus trial, as the first stage of a Hydrogen Roadmap to be released later this year.”
Today’s seminar follows the recent release of the Gas Vision 2050, a joint initiative of Australia’s peak gas industry bodies. The publication highlights how gas can continue to provide Australians with reliable and affordable energy in a low carbon energy future.
Examples of current Australian gas industry research and development projects include:
- ActewAGL is working with the Australian National University on a research initiative around three elements: producing hydrogen from excess renewable energy; hydrogen usage as a storage medium; and a renewable energy source that can be injected into the ACT gas distribution network.
- Jemena is working on a Power to Gas trial to demonstrate how excess renewable energy can be converted to hydrogen to be stored in gas pipelines to be used when and where it’s needed.
- An Energy Networks Australia project is reviewing the implications of combining hydrogen in networks on appliances and gas supply and distribution networks.
- An ActewAGL project aims to convert organic waste to biogas in an anaerobic digestor and to inject the renewable gas into the ACT’s gas distribution network. A business case for a pilot scheme is being developed.
Hybrid renewables-natural gas technology
- ATCO Gas Australia’s GasSola research and development project in the south-west of Western Australia combines the use of solar panels, battery storage and a natural gas powered generator. It aims to provide a reliable, secure back-up to renewable energy sources at a household level and support the electricity network in times of peak capacity. In addition to this residential project, a scalable commercial hybrid system is in development at ATCO’s Jandakot Operations Centre.
- Jemena is establishing a natural gas microgeneration trial to investigate the role natural gas can play in a hybrid residential energy solution. The trial will incorporate solar PV, battery technology, and natural gas microgeneration to optimise energy usage and reliability.
Energy Networks Australia is now working to deliver a long term research and development plan to support the Vision.
The Gas Vision 2050 is available here.
The program for today’s seminar is available here.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029 firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Release - Unlock our gas: Energy Minister
Gas moratoriums in Australian States and Territories should be lifted to help address the current east coast gas supply challenge, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told industry leaders in Melbourne today.
Minister Frydenberg delivered the Ministerial Address at the Energy Networks Australia Gas Vision 2050 seminar, confirming that gas is an essential part of an affordable and reliable energy system.
“Dr Finkel himself had a whole chapter on gas where he made it very clear that we should be dropping these blanket, state-wide bans and moratoriums,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Unforgivably here in Victoria there’s a moratorium on onshore conventional gas extraction and a ban on onshore unconventional gas exploration.
“But we should be dropping those mindless, job destroying gas moratoriums and bans and putting in its place a case by case approach where individual land owners and farmers have their say.”
Minister Frydenberg urged conference attendees to support innovative approaches to State Government royalty schemes, as introduced in South Australia, to better align the interests of landholders with sustainable gas development.
“New South Wales has got itself into a position where it imports 95 per cent of its gas so clearly we need to bring on more supply,” Minister Frydenberg said.
Minister Frydenberg recognised future planning being done for the long-term future of the gas sector, such as the Gas Vision 2050 developed by peak gas industry bodies.
Speaking at today’s seminar, Energy Networks Australia Gas Committee Chairman Ben Wilson said gas has a decarbonisation trajectory in just the same way that electricity does.
“Storage is important, batteries are very sexy, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the storage capability for the Australian gas system today is already built, already paid for and is the equivalent to six billion Tesla Powerwalls,” Mr Wilson said.
“Whilst 44% of home energy on average is delivered through the gas network, that’s only 13% of emissions so gas is a low carbon fuel.”
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said Australia’s gas supply and existing infrastructure should be a national advantage as our energy mix continues to evolve.
“The Gas Vision 2050 demonstrates how biogas, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage could provide new zero-emission and low emission fuels,” Mr Bradley said.
“They could deliver power to Australian homes, businesses and vehicles using the existing distribution network.”
The Gas Vision 2050 is available here.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029 email@example.com
Media Release - New power security plan confirms vital role of Transmission
Australia’s transmission networks have welcomed reforms to ensure clear roles for power system security in a changing electricity system.
The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) today released the Final Report of its System Security Market Frameworks Review. It recommends Transmission businesses be required to maintain minimum levels of ‘inertia’, or other equivalent services, to provide power system security.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said transmission networks were ready to ‘step up’ to new challenges in maintaining system inertia and system strength as the generation mix changes.
“Transmission businesses are ready to extend their current role supporting system security by using their own resources and also buying services from the market if required,” Mr Bradley said.
“The Finkel Report highlighted the need to modernise these rules and to be clear about the accountability and roles of each party, so system security can’t ‘fall between the stools’”.
Mr Bradley said future closures of synchronous generation made it vital to anticipate, and carefully manage, impacts on frequency and system strength in Australia’s power system.
“The loss of synchronous generation can make it harder to keep the system stable in frequency disturbances or reduce the strength of the system to manage fault events,” Mr Bradley said.
“Under the reforms, Transmission networks would be responsible for ensuring inertia and system strength, and the report confirms they have strong incentives to minimise the costs of doing so.”
Mr Bradley warned it was only a matter of time before similar system security challenges on the high voltage transmission network would need to be managed in distribution networks also.
“The current recommended reforms to National Energy Market are welcome but it’s important to recognise the potential for rapid changes in system security in some parts of the distribution grid too,” Mr Bradley said.
“Energy networks will work constructively with the AEMC and the Australian Energy Market Operator to ensure efficient solutions which maintain system security.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Media Release - Risks to consumers as Federal Government overrides Courts and States
Energy networks support real reforms which lower energy bills but a Federal Government plan to abolish regulatory appeals would create cost and service risks for customers.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said the Federal Government announcement that it would unilaterally abolish regulatory appeals rides roughshod over the Federal Court and the intergovernmental agreement underpinning the National Energy Market.
“Wholesale market and retail costs have been driving increases, while network costs have been falling,” Mr Bradley said.
“The decision sidelines COAG Energy Council decision-making, less than a week after the Finkel Blueprint tried to address dysfunctions in intergovernmental decision-making.
“This action would undermine basic foundations of the energy market - legislating away the powers of State Governments, the role of the Courts and the right to correct regulatory errors.
“The Finkel Review highlighted that political interventions by single governments have caused Australia’s energy crisis – they’re no solution for customers who want secure and affordable energy.”
Mr Bradley said energy networks and other stakeholders were blindsided by the Federal Government announcement which contradicted the COAG Energy Council decision in April 2017.
“Two months ago, the COAG Energy Council chaired by Minister Frydenberg agreed to finalise reforms to the appeals regime in July 2017, yet now the Commonwealth proposes to abolish the regime without consulting other Governments or impacted stakeholders,” Mr Bradley said.
“The new Western Australian Government has only just launched a consultation process with its energy stakeholders to inform a decision it thought was being made in July.
“Energy networks support reforms which genuinely lower energy costs to customers but hiding regulatory errors from independent review just risks poor service and catch up spending later."
The COAG Energy Council Communique of 10 April, 2017 stated:
“Ministers discussed the agreement made in December to introduce significant reform elements of the Limited Merits Review regime, agreeing to finalise the changes at the next Energy Council meeting in July.”
On March 14, 2017, Minister Frydenberg responded to a South Australian Government energy plan by saying:
“We are seeking advice on whether the decision today by South Australia to go it alone is in breach of the national electricity market rules which has kept the system together for the last 20 years.”
Mr Bradley said a COAG Energy Council review of the Limited Merits Review framework last year saw 80% of stakeholders reject abolition of the appeals process (even excluding network businesses).
“The Appeals process only exists because high quality regulation produces better outcomes for customers, who end up paying more in a system where errors can on occasion go uncorrected,” Mr Bradley said.
Under Limited Merits Review, the independent Australian Competition Tribunal can identify issues in decisions by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). The regime is there to benefit customers: By law, the independent Australian Competition Tribunal cannot overturn decisions unless it determines that there is a ‘materially preferable’ outcome for customers.
Last December, the COAG Energy Council decided to reform - not abolish - the regime. It agreed to develop a range of options including changes to the grounds for review; financial thresholds; proceeding format; timeframes and consumer participation.
Media Release - Finkel Blueprint the 'last, best hope' for energy customers
The Finkel Review has delivered a Blueprint for a secure, affordable energy transition which deserves a disciplined implementation response by Governments and industry.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said the 200 page Blueprint would require careful evaluation, followed by urgent implementation actions to stabilise Australia’s energy system.
“This Blueprint is the last, best hope that Australian energy customers have for a secure, reliable and affordable energy transition,” Mr Bradley said.
“The individual measures in the Blueprint need careful review but its greatest success would be compelling Australian governments to act together to lock down an agreed, national ‘Strategic Energy Plan’.”
Mr Bradley said bipartisan support for a Clean Energy Target recommended in the Blueprint could give much-needed certainty to investors and Australians confidence that emissions targets would be met.
“A well-designed, national Clean Energy Target would meet abatement outcomes without picking technology winners so that would mean lower costs to customers,” Mr Bradley said.
“To be successful, the Clean Energy Target needs an enduring, broad political commitment that lasts beyond the next election cycle.”
Mr Bradley welcomed proposals for an Energy Security Board to deliver the Blueprint and provide oversight, a system-wide Grid Plan, and regional security and reliability assessments.
“A transforming energy system needs strong well-resourced and proactive energy market institutions, with a shared plan of action and accountability for clear milestones,” Mr Bradley said.
“We welcome the Report’s emphasis on improved forecasting capabilities, cyber security and millions of small customers with solar, storage and other resources in an integrated grid.
“The Report recognises Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap analysis highlighting the potential to avoid $16 billion in future network spending by ‘orchestrating’ distributed energy resources.
“We also welcome the recommendations to remove arbitrary barriers to new gas supply development, with a focus on evidence-based environmental regulation.
“Australia can’t address electricity system security without removing arbitrary blockages to gas supply and ensuring gas markets are working effectively.”
Mr Bradley said Australian energy networks would provide every assistance to COAG Energy Council as it provides its implementation advice to COAG by August 2017.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joint statement - We all have a stake in moving forward with the Finkel Review
The energy industry, its customers and other stakeholders agree: the imminent Finkel Review deserves full and fair consideration before governments take decisions that will have major implications for the security, reliability and affordability of Australia’s electricity system.
Our organisations believe that the worst outcome for energy consumers and suppliers alike would be the absence of any credible and enduring energy and climate policy in Australia. Without reform we will endure higher prices, reduced security, lost investment opportunity, and stubbornly high emissions.
Energy markets are at a crossroads as all stakeholders deal with the significant changes that have been sweeping across the electricity and gas sectors for the last decade.
The Finkel Review presents a major opportunity to implement a coherent national blueprint to modernise our electricity system and meet our emissions reduction goals. The Report and its recommendations deserve to be considered as a whole in consultation with industry, customers and other stakeholders.
The consequences of failure are too significant to allow this opportunity to pass. The Australian political system must act to deliver clear and enduring energy and climate policy.
The Finkel Review expert panel has consulted widely and considered deeply, and their report is worthy of careful consideration. Once we have fully digested the Review, our organisations may have differing views on the detail of the recommendations and how these might best be implemented. But given what is at stake for energy users and suppliers, now is not the time for rash decisions or knee jerk reactions. We need careful review and considered decision-making that leads to the return of a stable investment environment, affordable prices and reliable supply, even as we reduce emissions.
We stand ready to support new reforms to achieve these outcomes.
Australian Aluminium Council
Australian Council of Social Services
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Energy Council
Australian Industry Group
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Business Council of Australia
Cement Industry Federation
Clean Energy Council
Energy Efficiency Council
Energy Networks Australia
Energy Users Association of Australia
Investor Group on Climate Change
National Farmers’ Federation
For further comment contact individual organisations.
Media Release - Bipartisan approach welcome in modernising energy system
Energy networks have welcomed a more bipartisan approach to discussing the future of Australia’s electricity system in Federal Parliament today, as stakeholders await the release of the Finkel Report on National Electricity Market security.
Appearing before the Modernising Australia’s Electricity Grid inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy, Energy Networks CEO John Bradley said customer benefits relied on more national policy measures.
“Customers are driving Australia’s energy transformation and Governments and utilities can only send incentives for millions of market participants,” Mr Bradley said.
“We welcome the bipartisan approach promoted by the Committee throughout its activities, and the inquiry’s focus on supporting customer needs during this time of historic change.
“Through our recent work on the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap with the CSIRO and broad stakeholders, we expect customers to determine more than $224 billion - or more than a quarter - of all system investment decisions by 2050.
“We could see 10 million participants using the grid as a platform for energy exchange and avoid $16 billion in network expenditure by relying on distributed resources like household solar and batteries.
“With the right policy settings by government and new approaches by energy utilities, a more integrated grid could save customers $414 per year on average; reduce system expenditure by customers and utilities by $101 billion by 2050 and achieve zero net emissions for the electricity sector.”
Mr Bradley said one of the biggest challenges was poorly integrated carbon and energy policy frameworks mixed between state and federal levels of government.
“So the opportunity for the Finkel Review to establish a clear blueprint and a transition plan is really key,” Mr Bradley said.
“The Roadmap has identified a range of activities in policy, regulation, intelligent grid systems, standards, markets and pricing reform, to help meet the grid modernisation challenge to keep the lights on and bills affordable.
“It relies on strengthening national energy market institutions and the markets in which investors – whether they are utilities, new innovators or households – can make decisions without unnecessary policy risk.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029 email@example.com
Media Release - CCS funding decision levels the playing field for carbon abatement options
Energy Networks Australia welcomes the decision by the Federal Government to level the playing field by allowing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund Carbon Capture and Storage technology.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said permitting investments in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies by the Fund was consistent with a “technology neutral” regulatory framework for achieving carbon abatement.
“Australia’s economy is inherently carbon intense and it needs all viable technology options on the table to achieve deep decarbonisation in line with the Paris aspiration of zero net emissions by the second half of the century,” Mr Bradley said.
“CCS has the potential to support long-term carbon abatement in major industries with significant carbon emissions, like metal manufacturing, fertilisers and advanced manufacturing.
“CCS technologies are not ‘pro-coal’, they are just one of the potential tools that could help Australia to efficiently achieve carbon abatement at scale, while maintaining energy security and affordability.
“The Clean Energy Finance Corporation should determine its investments based on the prospective projects which can leap frog our carbon abatement capability in Australia. Respected international institutions including the International Energy Agency, have identified CCS as having the potential to play a key role in a low carbon future.”
Mr Bradley said a technology neutral approach should guide both support mechanisms for Research, Development and Demonstration, like the CEFC, and the development of stable and enduring carbon policy which is urgently required to de-risk future energy investments.
“Energy networks are committed to enabling deep decarbonisation in Australia’s energy system,” Mr Bradley said.
“Our recent work with the CSIRO in the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap recommended technology neutral approaches, and noted that technologies like CCS, concentrated solar thermal, pumped hydro and Power to Gas hydrogen solutions all have potential to play a key role in future energy systems.
“Similarly, the recent Gas Vision 2050 publication identified CCS, along with renewable biogas and hydrogen technologies, as transformational technologies that could enable our gas infrastructure to achieve deep decarbonisation.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029 firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy Networks Australia represents Australia’s electricity transmission and distribution networks and gas distribution networks. Our members provide energy to virtually every household and business in Australia.
Media Release - Independent decisions focussed on needs of electricity customers
A Federal Court decision today confirms the essential role of the Australian Competition Tribunal in protecting the interests of energy customers.
The Federal Court has upheld the Australian Competition Tribunal decision to set aside key aspects of the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) original 2014-2019 revenue determination for NSW and ACT Networks.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer John Bradley welcomed the independent confirmation that the original decisions could be improved to ensure sufficient funding for sustainable services.
“While the decisions still need to be analysed, New South Wales electricity businesses do not expect a price shock or material impacts on customer bills,” Mr Bradley said.
“The energy networks initiated these appeals to ensure they can meet customer needs, to keep the lights on, energy reliable and to manage bushfire and other safety risks.
“Australia has a high quality, expert energy regulator in the AER and the oversight of the Competition Tribunal provides quality assurance to protect customers’ interests.
“Energy networks and their customers both want to achieve lower prices while maintaining the safe, reliable and secure electricity service that customers value.
“The Competition Tribunal and the Federal Court have played a key role in ensuring a careful balance in their robust independent decisions.”
By law, the Tribunal cannot overturn decisions unless it results in a better outcome for customers.
The relevant energy networks will work closely with the AER following today’s Federal Court decision.
Mr Bradley said customer bills would not be impacted in the short term by the Federal Court decision and regulatory changes would allow phasing in over five years.
“The decisions still need to be implemented by the AER and businesses. However, Endeavour Energy expects network charges to remain steady, Ausgrid expects it may lead to a small increase for its customers of 1.5% a year for five years, and Essential Energy indicates it is unlikely to impact the current regulatory period to 2019,” Mr Bradley said.
“Any bill impacts to fund sustainable network services are likely to be outweighed by the savings most customers could make today by shopping around for a better retail energy deal.
“The AER has estimated an average NSW household could save up to $77 per annum by switching to the average market deal.”
Networks will not be passing on the costs of taking part in this review process, and cannot do so by law.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
The NSW and ACT Networks appealed parts of the AER’s original revenue decision in order to maintain vital customers services and to ensure that customers and workers are safe.
The appeals were made through the Australian Competition Tribunal. This appeal process is known as limited merits review.
The AER then applied to have the Tribunal’s findings reviewed by the Federal Court which handed down its decision today.
Media Release - New competition rule can deliver lower costs for electricity customers
A new rule released today by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) can reduce costs for electricity customers over time by increasing competition in building transmission lines.
The AEMC Final Determination on Transmission Connection and Planning Arrangements introduces a new framework to provide more choice to customers and generators looking to connect to the transmission network.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said allowing transmission networks to compete for new infrastructure investment should result in lower prices for customers.
“This reform can drive lower costs by increasing competition in the delivery of transmission connections but it should also avoid impacts on other customers who depend on the safe and reliable operation of the central grid,” Mr Bradley said.
“It’s a reform to help enable the efficient connection of more renewable and low-emission generation technologies across the National Energy Market.
“The decision increases contestability while ensuring the accountability for the reliability, safety and security of the shared network remains with the primary Transmission Network Service Provider in each jurisdiction.”
The AEMC Report cites evidence of over 120 generators with public intentions to connect to the National Electricity Market and forecasts that 30 to 50 may connect by 2020.
The new rule also requires transmission businesses to include more detail in their annual planning reports.
Mr Bradley said Transmission networks supported arrangements to achieve greater consistency in connection and planning arrangements across the National Energy Market wherever possible.
“We commend the AEMC for its work to engage with stakeholders prior to releasing the Final Determination,” Mr Bradley said.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
New AEMO initiative to reward customers could kick-start our smart energy transition
A new electricity demand response trial announced today is a milestone in Australia’s energy transformation, Energy Networks Australia said today.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley welcomed a $22.5 million initiative by the Australia Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to be trialled over three years in Victoria and South Australia.
Mr Bradley said the trial would realise the potential to engage customers to save costs, keep the lights on and reduce carbon emissions.
“It’s great to see AEMO and ARENA working to develop smart energy security and emission reduction solutions for Australia,” Mr Bradley said.
“Customers taking part in the trial will be paid for reducing their energy use during times of peak demand to help avoid blackouts.
“An integrated grid using demand response can enable increased use of variable solar and wind generation on our electricity system.”
AEMO and ARENA are working with industry to design the trial. Around 40 stakeholders, including Energy Networks Australia, are taking part in a workshop on the project today.
Mr Bradley said Australia can realise the full value of demand management, solar and storage in homes if smart incentives and fairer prices are introduced to benefit all customers.
“Rewarding customers for their energy choices is an integral part of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap recently released by Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO,” Mr Bradley said.
“For instance, networks could buy grid support from millions of customers in demand response programs or using household solar and storage to save $16 billion in network costs by 2050.
“The Roadmap finds it critical to move to demand-based charges before 2021 to reward smart energy investments and avoid unfair cross-subsidies emerging in tomorrow’s energy grid.
“The demand response trial launched by AEMO and ARENA could kick-start the journey towards a customer-driven energy future.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Media Release - National energy event reveals grid edge innovation around Australia
A new series of Australian grid edge innovation case studies will be released today as part of a national energy forum in Sydney.
Today’s Welcome to the Grid Edge seminar will include presentations from the new CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, and the designer of a world-leading New York MicroGrid project, LO3 Energy’s Lawrence Orsini.
CEO of Horizon Power in Western Australia, Frank Tudor, will also address the seminar. Horizon Power services the biggest area with the least amount of customers in the world and is in a unique position as an operator of 32 MicroGrids.
The Energy Networks Australia event will showcase examples of innovation led by Australian Energy Networks through the release of a new publication. ‘Welcome to the Grid Edge: MicroGrids, Distributed Energy Precincts and Grid Edge innovation’ is available here and includes 13 Australian case studies.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said grid edge technologies are allowing customers to participate in the energy system like never before.
“Communities are now able to form MicroGrids or mini grids which may be self-sufficient, or exchange services with the grid for mutual benefit with the wider community,” Mr Bradley said.
“In remote communities, MicroGrids, remote area power supplies and stand-alone power systems can prove to be more reliable and cost effective – but we need to ensure regulatory rules allow them to be deployed.
“These systems can also allow power to be restored to communities more quickly after natural disasters such as Cyclone Debbie in March this year.
“Used effectively, edge of grid applications can ensure reliability of the grid, maintain power quality and help avoid costly network augmentations.
“This publication highlights just a few examples of how network businesses are working with communities to provide customers with affordable, secure and cleaner energy in an increasingly decentralised and dynamic energy system.”
The Welcome to the Grid Edge seminar will be held today, Wednesday 10 May 2017, at Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney.
The program is available here.
Media can register their attendance by contacting Taryn Bevege email@example.com.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Energy Networks Australia represents Australia’s electricity transmission and distribution networks and gas distribution networks. Our members provide energy to virtually every household and business in Australia.
Focus on energy security welcome but investor confidence is key
The focus on energy security in the 2017 Federal Budget has been welcomed by the peak industry body representing Australia’s energy networks.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said the Federal Budget included positive measures to improve energy customer confidence in electricity retail markets, wholesale gas markets and the feasibility of new energy sources and pipeline infrastructure.
“The Federal Budget seeks to restore public confidence that our energy markets are sufficiently secure and competitive to deliver reliable, affordable energy for our customers,” Mr Bradley said.
“Energy Networks welcome government support for increased market scrutiny and measures to progress new sources of unconventional gas, pumped hydro and concentrated solar thermal energy which can help to keep the lights on as we decarbonise.
“It is great to see the Federal Government’s commitment of about $60 million for scientific assessments and to accelerate development of onshore gas, along with $7.6 million to assess gas infrastructure and trading opportunities.
“However, to solve our gas market challenges, we need a number of State Governments to remove blanket prohibitions on gas exploration and development to secure reliable supply for manufacturers, power stations and residential customers.
“While Budget measures are welcome government funding is not the biggest challenge facing the energy system.
“Widespread federal funding of new energy projects should not be necessary if State and Federal Governments can rapidly agree on a national energy transition plan.
“With stable, national energy and carbon policy, we can return to an environment where investors have the confidence to allocate private capital, avoiding the need for support from the public purse.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
New tactic to keep the lights on as old generators shutdown
Energy networks have endorsed a new approach to electricity system security to keep the lights on now and in the future.
Under changes proposed by the Australian Energy Market Commission, transmission businesses will be required to maintain minimum levels of ‘inertia’ on the electricity system determined by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said the proposal recognises the value that transmission networks can provide as the mix of generation sources changes.
“As traditional synchronous generation is replaced by other sources, we will need to carefully manage frequency and system strength in Australia’s power system,” Mr Bradley said.
“The loss of synchronous energy can affect the ability of generators to operate in a way that meets their technical performance standards, increasing the risk of cascading outages leading to major supply disruptions.
“Transmission businesses are ready to extend their current role supporting system security, by using their own resources and also buying services from the market.”
Mr Bradley warned that system security issues facing the high voltage transmission networks would increasingly need to be managed in distribution networks also.
“The current reform proposals focussed on the National Energy Market are welcome but it’s important to recognise the potential for rapid changes in system security in some parts of the distribution grid too.
“Some distribution networks are losing system strength given significant levels of embedded generation connections and they are also impacted by changes in the generation on the transmission network.”
Mr Bradley said it was also clear system security would require better notice and regulation of generation exit from the market.
“It’s increasingly likely that generator retirements will have implications for system strength and system stability, so the system can no longer cope as it previously has, with notice of just five months, or even one month,” he said.
“Energy networks will work constructively with the Australian Energy Market Commission to ensure efficient solutions which maintain system security.”
The Australian Energy Market Commission has proposed the changes in its System Security Markets Frameworks Review Directions Paper. It will provide a report to the COAG Energy Council.
Energy Networks Australia’s response to the Directions Paper is available here.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029.
Energy Networks Australia represents Australia’s electricity transmission and distribution networks and gas distribution networks. Our members provide energy to virtually every household and business in Australia.
Grid edge ground breaker to share Brooklyn experience
Australia’s energy industry will hear from the designer of a world-leading grid edge project based in New York, where the ability to trade solar energy gives customers more choice and control.
The founder and CEO of New York start up company LO3 Energy, Lawrence Orsini, will present the international key note address at an upcoming Energy Networks Australia national forum.
LO3 Energy developed the TransActive Grid project in a neighbourhood of Brooklyn. People feed power generated by their solar panels into a local community energy marketplace. LO3 Energy’s peer-to-peer trading platform uses blockchain technology to allow people in this neighbourhood to buy and sell solar energy directly from one another.
Mr Orsini said LO3 Energy is proud to be leading the creation of new services and markets for electric utility customers around the world.
“As homeowners and businesses in Australia increasingly install solar, storage, and smart internet of things devices, they will require new ways to transact the value of those devices,” Mr Orsini said.
“Our blockchain-based TransActive Grid platform enables this transactive energy future of the electric grid."
LO3 Energy designed the platform as a solution for New York’s ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’, which was led by the new CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said blockchain technologies have the potential to unlock millions of direct transactions between customers sharing their energy.
“In New York and Australia, we are seeing the sharing economy arrive in energy, just as it has in transport and accommodation,” Mr Bradley said.
“Australian pioneers like PowerLedger are already deploying blockchain technology in Western Australia.
“Smarter grids interacting with dynamic trading platforms like LO3’s and PowerLedger’s could unlock the full potential of distributed energy resources.”
The Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap with CSIRO found that over 35 per cent of all electricity in Australia will be generated by customers by 2050, using rooftop solar and battery storage.
Mr Bradley said that instead of building traditional poles and wires solutions, networks could rely on grid support services from millions of customers with annual payments worth $1.1 billion per annum within 10 years.
“This seminar will explore new energy platforms, microgrids and edge of grid services that can provide Australian customers with affordable, secure and cleaner energy in a decentralised and dynamic energy system,” he said.
The Energy Networks Australia seminar, Welcome to the Grid Edge, will be held in Sydney on 10 May 2017.
The seminar program is available here.
Media can register their attendance by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029.
Markets must work for energy customers
The ACCC review into retail electricity prices must ensure competitive markets are working for all energy customers, Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said today.
“Energy markets are rapidly changing with a blizzard of choices and options, so it is vital to ensure we don’t leave any customers behind,” Mr Bradley said.
“We welcome the ability of this review to shine a light on all customer segments, including the disadvantaged and those who can’t shop around.”
Mr Bradley said the Energy Networks Australia’s Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap highlighted the potential risks of inequity increasing in a much more complex energy system.
“To ensure fair outcomes for customers, a deregulated retail market must deliver for all customers,” Mr Bradley said.
“Vulnerable customers, who can’t access new technologies such as solar and battery storage, can be helped to shop around to get a better deal but they should not be exploited if they do not.
“Our past analysis showed that the savings which vulnerable customers could make by shopping around could be worth more than direct government concessions and financial assistance.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Media release - Technology can strengthen Australia's gas advantage
Technology can strengthen the role Australian gas plays in the diverse energy mix beyond 2030 as outlined in a new vision to be launched today by the gas industry.
Gas Vision 2050 was developed by Australia’s peak gas industry bodies and demonstrates how gas can continue to provide Australians with reliable and affordable energy in a low carbon energy future.
The vision will be presented to the Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, and the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, in Canberra today.
Energy Networks Australia Gas Committee Chairman Ben Wilson said Australia’s gas supply and infrastructure should be a national advantage as our energy mix continues to evolve.
“The gas supply chain is working constructively with the Government to provide the energy security Australia needs today. We also recognise the need to plan for the longer-term,” Mr Wilson said.
“Three transformational technologies – biogas, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage – could provide new zero-emission and low emission fuels that can deliver power to Australian homes, businesses and vehicles using the existing distribution network.”
Biogas, for example, can make use of landfill to produce net-zero emission fuel for mainstream use. Mr Wilson said that in the future, zero-carbon hydrogen from renewables can also be delivered in the gas network.
“This has the potential to further reduce the carbon footprint of gas and complement the vital support gas already provides to intermittent renewables for power generation,” he said.
“Australia’s gas infrastructure can store the same amount of energy as six billion Powerwall batteries.”
The power sector is the largest gas consuming sector, accounting for 40% of worldwide gas demand today. The International Energy Agency recognises that gas is less carbon intensive than coal or oil and notes that gas-fired technologies have a far lower capital cost compared to coal generation.
Mr Wilson said new technology will drive the decarbonisation journey of gas.
“We need a technology-neutral policy environment to allow industry to research, develop and demonstrate a diverse range of low emission technologies.”
APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said natural gas has a pivotal role to play as we continue the move to a low‑carbon economy, both in Australia and around the world.
“Substituting gas for more emissions intensive fuels is essential to achieving climate change targets,” Dr Roberts said.
“As a cleaner fuel, natural gas is also helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Australia’s liquefied natural gas exports are replacing fuels that have far higher emissions.”
APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright said gas is a crucial part of Australia’s energy system, with gas and electricity supplying similar amounts of energy to households, commerce and industry.
“We have no viable alternative for some of its industrial uses such as making glass, bricks and other building products,” Ms Cartwright said.
“Our existing natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines effectively make up a large energy storage system, and this can provide a way of storing renewable energy in the future.”
Today, natural gas provides 44% of household energy for only 13% of household emissions.
Deloitte estimates that gas used by industry in Australia supports 949,000 jobs.
Gas Energy Australia CEO John Griffiths said gas also provides an affordable, lower emission transport fuel as well as a reliable, cleaner opportunity for distributed energy and off-grid generation.
“There are 380,000 gas powered vehicles in Australia today and there are commercially attractive opportunities for switching to gas in the transport and mining sectors,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Gaseous fuels such as CNG, LNG and LPG enable regional and remote communities to enjoy the many benefits of gas and can also provide emergency energy supplies in response to natural disasters.”
GAMAA President Andrew Creek said natural gas will continue to be a critical part of Australia’s energy mix leading up to 2050 and beyond.
“As industry leaders we must encourage innovation and efficiency within the energy sector to provide Australian households and businesses with the reliable and affordable power they expect,” Mr Creek said.
“The Gas Vision 2050 reflects that ambition.”
The policy settings proposed in the Vision are outlined in the table below.
The Gas Vision 2050 is available here.
Energy Networks Australia: Taryn Bevege 0447569029 email@example.com
APPEA: Kieran Murphy 0408151922 firstname.lastname@example.org
APGA: Cheryl Cartwright 0419 996 066 email@example.com
Gas Energy Australia: John Griffiths 0439344622 firstname.lastname@example.org
GAMAA: Andrew Creek 0418 559 662 ACreek@sitgas.com.au
The Gas 2050 Vision has been developed by Energy Networks Australia, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, Australian Pipelines and Gas Association, Gas Energy Australia and Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia.
SA power plan proves urgent need for national policy
States will be forced to act in their own energy security interests until we have national agreement on energy and carbon policy, Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said today following the release of the South Australian Government’s power plan.
Mr Bradley welcomed the integrated approach to power system security, storage technologies and gas supply development but said a national plan is still required.
“Energy security is vital to homes and businesses and we understand the South Australian Government needed to put this beyond doubt,” Mr Bradley said.
“But breakout measures by State Governments should be a last resort in a national energy market and serve as a warning that the COAG Energy Council processes are not working effectively.”
Mr Bradley said the South Australian Government’s plan recognises the need for an integrated approach to system stability.
“This plan encourages new gas supplies which help to support system security, allows a competitive process for large scale storage and enables gas-fired generation to support a stable and reliable grid,” he said.
“We welcome indications that the Plan’s key measures are intended to integrate with future national mechanisms for grid stability and carbon policy.
“However, some of the mechanisms in the Plan could have implications for storage or generation market participants wanting to invest on a commercial basis.
“We still need a national plan that supports commercial investment in energy markets without major administrative interventions by government.
“Australians are expecting the Finkel Review Blueprint to deliver that plan.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Government gas bans threaten power supply and clean energy future
A shortage of gas could soon result in blackouts the Australian Energy Market Operator confirmed today, in the same week new bans on gas development and exploration were introduced in Victoria.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) today released its Gas Statement of Opportunities (GSOO) which predicts gas supply shortfalls within two years in Australia’s southern states.
Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said state government intervention is undermining Australia’s energy security and carbon abatement goals by reducing the amount of gas available for use in Australia.
“The Victorian Government has extended bans on gas exploration and development in the same week the independent Market operator warns of gas shortages and blackouts for customers,” Mr Bradley said.
“Some Australian governments are sleeping through their wake up call on energy security.”
Mr Bradley said extended bans in Victoria were particularly concerning given gas was vital to Victorian households, manufacturers and power system security.
“Victoria has Australia’s largest manufacturing sector dependent on gas, and almost two million households relying on natural gas for hot water, heating and cooking.
“Victoria is also about to lose 14% of its firm power generation capacity when the coal-fired Hazelwood Power Plant shuts down.”
Mr Bradley said AEMO’s report highlighted the need for governments to provide an integrated energy plan, given secure electricity was dependent on secure gas supplies.
“Gas is a low emission fuel that can help Australia achieve its carbon abatement targets but government intervention is damaging its potential,” he said.
“Gas used in efficient gas-fired power generation has less than half the emissions of current coal fired power generation.
“Without a national, technology neutral carbon policy and with continued State bans on gas, Australian customers face a less reliable, higher cost and higher emissions future.”
Mr Bradley urged governments to adopt an evidence-based national approach to gas exploration and production, as recommended by the Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.
“Governments should listen to the science and act on the evidence to increase supply and put downward pressure on gas prices.”
The Energy Australia Networks submission to the Independent review into the future security of the National Energy Market can be downloaded here.
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Groundswell of support for carbon policy circuit breaker
Australian governments have a clear opportunity to reach a national accord on carbon policy, Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said today.
The National Farmers Federation today joined an overwhelming consensus of stakeholders supporting market-based carbon policy.
Mr Bradley said Australian governments are receiving a groundswell of support to reach pragmatic agreement on market-based carbon policies which are technology neutral.
“The energy industry, unions, social welfare bodies, environmental advocates and most importantly, customers are ready to work with governments to resolve the impasse,” Mr Bradley said.
“Governments don’t have to choose between secure, affordable energy and achieving Australia’s carbon-abatement goals.
“The national interest requires bipartisanship on energy and carbon policy in the same way political parties approach defence and foreign policy.”
Mr Bradley said the energy industry and major energy customers including Australian farmers face significant exposure to climate change.
“There is support for pragmatic, evidence-based policy which meets carbon abatement targets without undermining energy security or affordability,” he said.
“Analysis by Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO found that technology neutral carbon policy, like an Emission Intensity Scheme, would provide least cost abatement and could save customers over $200 per year by 2030.
“There are other market-based options which remain technology neutral and we look forward to working constructively with Governments to achieve a clear path forward.”
Mr Bradley said that after the confusion of the last decade, the most urgent requirement for Australian carbon policy was stability to avoid higher costs or less reliable supply for customers.
“It's important for the entire community that Australia achieves a stable, enduring carbon policy which minimises unnecessary risk for investors in energy infrastructure, including long life grid assets, innovative new technologies and distributed energy resources.”
Media contact: Taryn Bevege (02) 6272 1524 or 0447569029
Energy Security Blueprint Will Require Accountability
The Finkel Review’s Energy Blueprint can make Australia’s energy system stronger if there is clear accountability for implementation, Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said today.
“The greatest single risk to an efficient and secure energy transition is conflicting government policy and regulation in a national market,” Mr Bradley said.
“The Finkel Review is a watershed opportunity to reach agreement on a national approach to energy policy and regulation.
“However, energy customers need governments and industry to follow through, where too many reforms have sat idle.
No room for partisan politics in energy
Representatives of Australian communities, including civil society, households, workers, investors, business energy users and energy suppliers today challenged all political leaders to stop partisan antics and work together to reform Australia’s energy systems and markets to deliver the reliable, affordable and clean energy that is critical to wellbeing, employment and prosperity.
There is simply no room for partisan politics when the reliability, affordability and sustainability of Australia’s energy system is at stake.
Advanced database supports Grid Integration of Renewables
Australia’s most advanced database of Australian and international renewable energy grid integration projects has been released to support innovation in Australia’s energy system.
The Renewables Integration Stocktake is an online, exportable database that currently catalogues 233 projects that add to Australia’s collective knowledge and experience of integrating renewable energy into electricity networks.
It provides a one-stop-shop for information on current projects, along with the outcomes of past efforts.
A fresh start to National Energy Strategy in 2017
There is still time for Australian governments to work together to achieve a national energy plan in the interests of customers.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, welcomed the decision by State and Federal Governments to meet again in 2 months at a time when all stakeholders are urging greater collaboration and integrated national measures.
“We welcome the progress made today and urge State and Federal Governments to recommit to achieving a national energy blueprint in the interests of customers,” Mr Bradley said.
Ministers agreed to fast-track for consideration in February additional measures to strengthen the NEM and accelerate proof-of-concept projects in order to respond to security and reliability issues identified in the preliminary report.
Joint Statement: Energy reform is urgent to avert systemic crises
Representatives of Australia’s communities, households, business energy users and energy suppliers today called on the Commonwealth Government, the States and all other stakeholders to support reform of Australia’s energy systems and markets to ensure reliability and affordability as we decarbonise the energy system. The status quo of policy uncertainty, lack of coordination and unreformed markets is increasing costs, undermining investment and worsening reliability risks. This impacts all Australians, including vulnerable low-income households, workers, regional communities and trade-exposed industries.
Australian Energy Council and Energy Networks Australia Communique
A national meeting of the chief executives of Australia’s leading energy retailing, distribution, transmission, generation and other service businesses agreed that:
- Australia’s energy system needs urgent, national reform to energy policy and regulation to deliver a reliable and affordable transformation. This transformation is already well advanced.It is occurring on multiple fronts:reduced greenhouse emissions, increased energy productivity, improved customer service and greater involvement in energy supply and use by customers.
- A critical measure of successful reform is that all energy investors - including consumers, new entrants, incumbent generation businesses and energy networks – will have sufficient certainty to ensure efficient investment without political risk.
Energy Networks support robust Carbon Policy Review
Energy Networks Australia welcomes the announcement of the terms of reference for the review of carbon policy in 2017.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said the scope of the review was sufficiently broad to allow a comprehensive and evidence-based review of Australia’s carbon policy framework.
“We welcome the focus in the Review on the outcomes which are important to customers - achieving least cost carbon abatement without compromising energy security,” Mr Bradley said.
“After the last decade, the most important design feature of Australian carbon policy is stability – a volatile carbon policy means higher costs or less reliable supply.
“It's important that Australia achieves a stable, enduring carbon policy which minimises unnecessary risk for investors in energy infrastructure, including long life grid assets, innovative new technologies and distributed energy resources.”
AER benchmarking report shows electricity networks continue to improve productivity
New benchmarking studies released by the Australian Energy Regulator today confirm the focus of Australia’s electricity networks on improved outcomes for customers.
The annual benchmarking reports for electricity distribution and transmission networks show improvements in productivity by many network businesses during 2015.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said Australian networks were focussed on better service and more efficient outcomes for customers.
Interconnection vital to competitive, clean energy markets
Australia’s national electricity grid will need stronger interconnection to support renewable energy and keep wholesale markets competitive.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said recent generation closures in South Australia had driven up wholesale electricity prices in South Australia but more interconnection could reduce pressure on customer bills.
“Interconnectors aren’t always popular with incumbent generators because they inject competition into wholesale electricity markets, with security and cost benefits for energy users,” Mr Bradley said.
Gas bans would be a risk to Victorian energy customers
New legislation to ban all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development in Victoria could lead to higher energy costs and supply risks for energy customers, Energy Networks Australia said today.
Energy Networks Australia Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said access to natural gas was vital to enable Victoria’s transition to a cleaner energy future.
“Blanket bans on gas development are a high risk strategy, given no other state depends more on secure access to this low carbon energy source than Victoria,” Mr Bradley said.
Nino Ficca elected Chair of Energy Networks Australia
One of Australia’s most experienced energy leaders, Nino Ficca, has been elected as the new Chair of Energy Networks Australia.
Mr Ficca, Managing Director of AusNet Services, has over 30 years’ experience in the energy industry. Nino leads a diverse business with electricity transmission and distribution and gas distribution services. He succeeds Paul Adams after three years as Chair.
“Customers are at the centre of Australia’s energy revolution and they will be at the centre of my priorities as the Chair of Energy Networks Australia,” Mr Ficca said.
New Rules and Tariffs could unlock ‘Off-Grid’ value
Grid companies could save customers over $1.7 billion in costs and provide more reliable service to rural customers if they can make smarter use of off-grid technology.
Analysis released by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and CSIRO, as part of their Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap program, assesses the role Microgrids and Stand Alone Power Systems could play as alternatives to traditional grid infrastructure.
Stakeholders reject abolition of merits review of regulatory decisions
Stakeholders have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to abolish important accountability measures in energy regulation.
Thirty-five stakeholders made public submissions to a COAG Energy Council review of the Limited Merits Review (LMR) regime including consumer groups, policy experts, industry participants, investors and regulators.
Energy Networks Association (ENA) Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said the majority of stakeholder submissions had supported reforms to the current process and rejected an option to abolish the regime.
“Among the 35 submissions, there was widespread support for reform of the current regime and widespread rejection of proposals to abolish the appeal rights of customers and networks,“ Mr Bradley said.
Grid supports new approaches to power system security
Australian energy networks have supported an overhaul of rules for power system security to reflect the changing generation mix and new technology opportunities.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) supported new rules to clarify parties’ responsibilities for maintaining system stability and security in a submission to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) System Security Market Frameworks Review.
ENA Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said new market rules were required to ensure power system security is maintained as ‘synchronous’ large generators close and wind generation and distributed technologies like solar panels and storage increase.
Queensland renewables have bright future – but key question remains
An independent panel report released today on Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target highlights the importance of a national approach to carbon and energy policy.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) today welcomed the report’s recommendation that Queensland should keep ‘flexibility’ when national policy was still being developed.
ENA Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said the report highlighted Queensland’s enormous renewable energy resources, but was focussed only on one policy option – a renewable energy target.
“We welcome the recommendation that Queensland’s policies will be more credible and durable if explicitly integrated with national carbon and energy policy,” Mr Bradley said.
Energy security vital for Australian jobs and families
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) welcomes the commitment of the COAG Energy Council to an independent assessment of energy security in Australia.
ENA Chief Executive John Bradley said an independent and evidence based review may assist in reducing the political conflict that is itself undermining the stability and affordability of energy decarbonisation.
“If this independent review can be a political circuit-breaker and provide robust evidence, then it’s good news for Australian energy customers,” Mr Bradley said.
“However, we don’t need to wait for a review to know that new State and Federal initiatives should be assessed for their impact on the NEM, including an energy security assessment.
Joint Statement: Energy Challenges Need Cooperation
Organisations representing Australia’s energy industry and consumers of all sizes have united in calling for a cooperative and strategic response to Australia’s energy transition and challenges, as Australia’s energy ministers gather in the aftermath of South Australia’s electricity blackout.
Australia is undergoing a major transition towards a lower carbon emissions economy and new technologies for generation, supply, storage, and use of energy. The storm and subsequent blackout in South Australia underline the vital importance of energy security, and the vulnerability of our increasingly complex electricity system to natural disasters. Before the storm and blackout, South Australia also experienced significant energy price rises and volatility, shaped by: interconnector limitations; gas supply issues; the exit of coal-fired generation; and an increase in renewable energy generation.
Greens gas policy would leave ACT in the cold
ACT residents should be given the right to choose the best energy source for their homes, leading energy industry experts said today.
Phasing out the use of natural gas in the ACT would deny residents the choice of a safe, reliable and convenient energy source for their homes.
The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), the Energy Networks Association (ENA), the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia (GAMAA) have called for common sense policy discussion in the ACT election.
The ACT Greens are threatening to ban gas reticulation to new Canberra suburbs and prohibit the sale of new or replacement gas hot water systems, which would deny the citizens the right to choose a safe, reliable, affordable energy source.
An Integrated Grid could save customers billions
Unlocking the benefits of new energy technology could lead to a 30% reduction in the network component of electricity bills by 2050 and a fairer, more efficient energy system.
Ground-breaking analysis released at All-Energy Australia in Melbourne today indicates economic benefits of $16.7 billion would be achieved through the smart use of network incentives to customers.
Energy Networks Association (ENA) CEO, John Bradley said the analysis was commissioned by the ENA and CSIRO as part of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap program.
“Customers, not utilities, will make more than $224 billion - or more than a quarter - of all energy system investment decisions between now and 2050,” Mr Bradley said.
“Energy networks can unlock the full value of these distributed resources, like solar, storage and demand management, with smart incentives for grid-support services."
Political risk too great for energy system
Energy Ministers must work together for an integrated decarbonisation of Australia’s energy system, Energy Networks Association (ENA) Chief Executive Officer John Bradley told the All-Energy Australia conference today.
“Patchwork targets and policies across Australia are not leading to a stable, secure energy system – this is the second emergency meeting of Energy Ministers in seven weeks,” Mr Bradley said.
“There is no doubt Australia faces a higher cost, less secure decarbonisation if it has a mish-mash of inconsistent Federal and State initiatives.
“The NEM is supposed to be a national market, but we are ‘running with scissors’ towards a cleaner energy system. The Energy Ministers’ meeting on Friday can reduce that risk.”
Smart carbon policy worth over $200 per year to customers
Smarter carbon policy could save Australian households an average of $216 per year, while meeting Australia’s 2030 carbon targets.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) today released a final report by Jacobs analysing alternate carbon policy options, along with ENA’s proposed 7 Steps to Smarter Carbon Policy.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said the analysis confirms that if governments focus on outcomes rather than picking technology winners, Australia can meet the same carbon target while saving customers $216 per year and achieving economic savings of $900 million.
He said the call for technology neutral policy was no attack on renewable energy sources.
“If markets are allowed to work, each technology finds its efficient role. Jacobs saw renewable generation reaching the 33,000 GWh target by 2020 in all scenarios examined and continuing to grow beyond 2020,” Mr Bradley said.
Victorian Government’s gas ban a risk to customers and environment
The decision to ban onshore gas exploration and development in Victoria creates risks for energy customers, the environment and the economy, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said today.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said that natural gas was vital for enabling Victoria’s transition to a cleaner energy future.
“Imposing a state wide ban on gas exploration and production will undermine the role natural gas can play in supporting a cleaner, affordable energy system,” Mr Bradley said.
“At a time when gas distribution networks are cutting costs, the government is making a decision to restrict supply that could lead to cost increases for families and business."
COAG acts for stronger, cleaner energy system
A COAG Energy Council decision to expedite the assessment of a new interconnector between New South Wales and South Australia can help Australia’s energy system to be stronger, cleaner, sooner.
Energy Networks Association (ENA) Chief Executive Officer John Bradley welcomed the decision by Ministers to assess the interconnector without delay.
“Australia’s energy system is changing faster than the regulatory framework can keep up – so we welcome Ministerial support for an early but rigorous assessment of the interconnector,“ Mr Bradley said.
“Early analysis indicates the interconnector could provide substantial benefits to electricity customers – given high prices in South Australia and surplus capacity in New South Wales."
AEMO report highlights need for new COAG Energy Council process
The release of the 2016 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) today by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) highlights the need for Australian Energy Ministers to improve current processes for coordinating national energy and carbon policy.
Energy Networks Association (ENA) CEO John Bradley said the report did not change the need to decarbonise Australian energy – but it did identify the need for integrated carbon and energy policy and a planned transition to a cleaner energy system.
The AEMO report indicates the need to avoid potential reliability breaches occurring in South Australia from 2019-20, and New South Wales and Victoria from 2025 onwards.
“Australia’s transition to a cleaner energy system is non-negotiable. The AEMO report shows the need to anticipate threats to system reliability, security and price volatility,” Mr Bradley said.
Customer choice to drive energy regulation
Energy regulation will need to be ‘customer led’ and ‘lighter touch’ to cope with rapid technology changes, according to a report released today by the Energy Networks Association (ENA).
The report by Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA) recommends regulatory options and pathways for Australian electricity networks so that customers can get the best value from changes in technology and services.
ENA Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said technological change was transforming the way customers use electricity networks and the economics of network operation.
“This independent review highlights the need for a regulatory framework that allows energy customers to be able to directly negotiate with electricity networks on services they value,” Mr Bradley said.
Victorian gas networks driving efficiency and innovation
Victorian gas distributors – Multinet Gas, Australian Gas Networks and AusNet Services – are exploring new incentive arrangements to drive efficient and innovative gas network investment.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) believes there is a clear opportunity to promote the long-term interests of gas customers by improving investment incentives for gas networks.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said energy networks support incentive-based mechanisms to promote efficient network expenditure and lower customer costs.
“Victorian gas distributors are consulting on potential changes to incentive mechanisms they could propose to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for their forthcoming access arrangements period,” Mr Bradley said.
New Handbook to raise the voice of energy customers
Energy networks are pursuing a revolution in the customer relationship that is as dramatic as changes in the energy system itself, Energy Networks Association (ENA) Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said today.
The ENA and CSIRO released today the Customer Engagement Handbook – the first major work from the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap project for 2016.
Mr Bradley said there is no silver bullet for ensuring the energy system delivers the best outcomes for customers.
“Giving a voice to time-poor customers is the key to maximising the benefits of a changing energy system for the community,” Mr Bradley said.
Innovative grid maps – an opportunity for customer benefits
Australian energy networks are supporting an innovative new tool to encourage alternatives to traditional ‘poles and wires’ in a collaborative era of grid management.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) said new Network Opportunity Maps launched by the Institute of Sustainable Futures would provide a ground-breaking way of highlighting opportunities for new energy solutions.
“Energy networks are looking for new and efficient ways the grid can support innovation in the Australian energy system,” ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said.
“Network Opportunity Maps use current network data to highlight hotspots where new solutions like demand management could deliver better outcomes for customers.”
Vale Matt Zema
The Energy Networks Association (ENA), representing Australia’s gas and electricity networks, marks the sad passing of Matt Zema, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said Mr Zema was widely esteemed as a leader of the Australian and international energy sector, who had made an indelible mark on the development of Australia’s energy system.
“Our industry valued Matt Zema’s forthright engagement, his deep expertise and his many achievements as the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator since its foundation,” Mr Bradley said.
The ENA and its members offer sincere condolences to Mr Zema’s family and thanks for his contribution over 30 years to the Australian community.
New National Energy Compact a priority for Federal Ministry
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has urged the Federal Minister for Environment and Energy to seek a renewed national compact on energy and carbon policy at the forthcoming COAG Energy Council meeting.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, welcomed the appointment of a single Federal Minister for Environment and Energy.
“This is an enormous opportunity to achieve true integration in Federal carbon and energy policy, but competing State and Federal policy settings are also increasing risks to customers at a time of dynamic change,” Mr Bradley said.
Australian Standards to unlock our distributed electricity future
Australia’s energy system will require a thorough overhaul of Australian Standards to deal with transformations in distributed energy, smart grids and empowered customers.
Energy Networks Association Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said Standards would be critical for the effective integration of distributed energy resources into electricity networks to support customer choice and more efficient services.
“With rapid changes in technology, improvements must be made to the current suite of Australian Standards to leverage the full value of distributed energy resources,” Mr Bradley said.
Standards pave the way for Australia’s energy storage revolution
Australian Standards for battery storage could speed up its safe, efficient adoption and usher in the transformation of Australia’s energy system.
An Energy Networks Association (ENA) submission to Standards Australia has urged the authority to develop comprehensive standards that ensure the safety and interoperability of residential and small commercial battery storage systems.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said energy networks recognise the significant role that energy storage can play in the future of Australia’s energy mix.
ENA welcomes SA Government support for interconnector study
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) welcomed today’s announcement by the South Australian (SA) Government that it will contribute $500,000 to study the feasibility of a new high voltage electricity transmission interconnector.
ElectraNet, operator of South Australia’s transmission network, will examine the economic viability of a new interconnector linking South Australia with the eastern states, as a high priority, in a $1 million project over the next 12 months.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, supported examination of the potential for additional interconnector capacity and welcomed the contribution of the SA Government to help fast-track the study.
Solar thermal energy – another enabler of a cleaner energy future
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) today welcomed the announcement that South Australia will see a concentrated solar thermal generation demonstration plant by the end of the year.
Solastor Australia chairman, John Hewson, announced the company would build a one megawatt, grid connected, demonstration plant in Port Augusta as the first step in its $1.2 billion solar thermal project.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said the Solastor demonstration plant could highlight the potential for "dispatchable" renewable energy to be provided by concentrated solar thermal technology.
Energy Networks support Smart Street Lighting Council
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) will support the Street Lighting and Smart Controls Council launched today at Sydney Town Hall.
The Council will be overseen by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) and deliver a two-year Street Lighting and Smart Controls (SLSC) program aimed at accelerating the deployment of LED street lighting and smart controls systems.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said the SLSC program is timely given the increasing use of electricity networks as platforms for smart technology.
Don’t forget hidden resources on the energy grid – like hot water as storage
Australian and US energy leaders agreed today at Energy Networks 2016 in Adelaide that fresh thinking was needed about the existing opportunities in the energy system.
Terry Effeney, CEO of Queensland distributor Energex, and Lena Hansen from the Rocky Mountain Institute agreed it would be possible to unlock greater use of hot water storage, in addition to new battery storage systems entering the grid.
Mr Effeney said the network had huge amounts of storage connected to it now – “it’s called hot water”.
Energy system future – the hot topic in South Australia
More than 800 representatives from about 230 Australian and international organisations are in Adelaide this week discussing the future of the energy system.
South Australia is at the frontier of the global energy transformation as major power stations close to make way for increasing penetration of renewable energy sources – a change that has challenged power system security.
Energy Networks Association CEO, John Bradley, will today tell delegates at Energy Networks 2016 that the industry is in an ‘egg and spoon’ race on behalf of energy consumers.
“We must execute a rapid transformation in the energy system without compromising the delicate balance of affordability, sustainability and reliability,” Mr Bradley said ahead of his address.
“Fourth industrial revolution” shaping the energy grid for a low-carbon future
South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister, Tom Koutsantonis has told energy policy makers and practitioners at Energy Networks 2016 this morning to “adapt, change, evolve”.
Basil Scarsella, CEO UK Power Networks and former chief executive of ETSA Utilities, highlighted the need for the energy grid to change its delivery systems to support local energy and microgrids – “community solutions”.
Mr Scarsella highlighted the importance of recent regulatory reforms in the United Kingdom to encourage more innovation and better customer services.
Australian energy networks aid faster, safer Fiji power restoration
Australian energy networks will today send a fleet of donated heavy machinery and vehicles to help accelerate the safe restoration of Fiji’s electricity network devastated by Tropical Cyclone Winston in February.
Energy Networks Association CEO, John Bradley, said a team of Australian energy networks had partnered with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assess damage and identify much needed resources.
“Cyclone Winston knocked down or damaged over 4,500 power poles with impacts on up to 90% of the Fijian electricity network,” Mr Bradley said.
“The donations by 10 Australian energy companies will speed up reconstruction of the electricity network in Fiji by an estimated 25%, completing works months earlier."
South Australia at the centre of the energy revolution
Australian and international energy leaders will converge on Adelaide this week, as South Australia takes the spotlight in the global energy transformation.
Energy Networks Association CEO, John Bradley, said it was fitting South Australia would host Energy Networks 2016 involving over 760 delegates and 230 companies.
“There is no better place than Adelaide for national and international electricity and gas leaders to discuss the future of energy systems,” Mr Bradley said.
“South Australia is a living energy laboratory – it’s integrating renewable generation at a phenomenal rate and creating national and global interest.”
ENA rejects Renew Economy “scare campaign” on cyber security
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) wishes to correct misleading reporting by Renew Economy in “Network lobby’s new scare campaign against solar: cyber security“.
Contrary to the report, the ENA’s comments to Fairfax media did not “… link the possible security threats solely to the use of solar and storage”.
As reported in the original article, the ENA identified the need for cyber security risk management across a diverse range of network operations, including large-scale transmission operations, distribution network management and the integration of distributed resources like solar, storage, electric vehicles and demand response.
ENA supports AER’s view on opportunities for fairer pricing
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) strongly supports the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) view that cost reflective pricing reforms can make electricity tariffs fairer for customers.
Responding to AER consultation on distribution network Tariff Structure Statements (TSS) in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory, the ENA endorsed the regulator’s view that “moving towards tariffs that take account of a customer’s use of electricity during peak times will make pricing for electricity fairer”.
ENA CEO, John Bradley, said implementing new network tariff structures was also important to improve Australia’s long-term energy productivity during a period of critical change.
Ensuring climate change action is reliable, efficient and on target
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has welcomed ALP commitments to strong action on climate change and the need to develop robust implementation frameworks in Government.
ENA CEO, John Bradley, said Australia’s gas and electricity networks can enable the higher abatement targets sought in Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan, but the outcomes for customer bills and reliability would depend on key implementation measures.
“We welcome key measures that focus on abatement outcomes – such as vehicle emissions standards and emissions trading in the electricity generation sector, “Mr Bradley said.
ACCC shows policy bans a threat to gas consumers
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on the east coast gas market has highlighted the benefits to consumers of removing arbitrary bans on coal seam gas development in some States.
ENA CEO, John Bradley, said the ACCC report highlighted the effect of policy restrictions in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania and under consideration in the Northern Territory.
“Gas customers in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania will benefit from moves to remove arbitrary barriers to the development of new supply,” Mr Bradley said.
Electricity tariff reform to unlock distributed energy
Queensland’s electricity system is leading the world in the distributed energy revolution - but it will need better electricity tariffs to achieve fairness and efficiency.
In its submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission’s (QPC) inquiry into solar feed-in pricing, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) urged the commission to support electricity pricing reform that rewards customers for reducing peak demand.
New Handbook to deliver fairer, more efficient electricity prices
Australian electricity networks are drawing on international experience to assist the implementation of fairer, more efficient electricity prices for customers.
The Energy Networks Association has released an Electricity Network Tariff Reform Handbook for consultation to guide the development and implementation of electricity prices that provide benefits to customers.
“Australia’s energy customers are some of the fastest in the world to embrace new energy technologies, but we are in danger of being left behind when it comes to fair and efficient pricing,” Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley said.
Energy networks welcome Clean Energy Innovation Fund
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) welcomes the announcement by the Federal Government of a $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund to support emerging clean energy technologies.
ENA CEO, John Bradley, said energy networks support innovation to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.
“It’s great to see a focus on smart grids in the Fund, given electricity and gas networks will be a critical platform for a low emission future,” Mr Bradley said.
Technology neutral policies will deliver lower bills
A move to “technology neutral” carbon policy could save a typical residential electricity customer $234 per year while still meeting Australia‘s emission reduction targets.
Speaking at Australian Domestic Gas Outlook 2016, Energy Networks Association (ENA) CEO, John Bradley, released analysis from a forthcoming Jacobs report on carbon abatement policy options and the outcomes for consumers.
“Australia’s carbon policy is at a crossroads and the next Federal Government will determine how efficiently we meet the 2030 carbon abatement commitments from Paris,“ Mr Bradley said.
Australia – a gas giant abroad but fragile at home
A new Government report on the Australian gas market highlights the need for Government policy action to provide a ‘level playing field’ for gas.
Gas Market Report 2015 released today by the Chief Economist of the Department of Industry Innovation and Science predicts significant international opportunities for Australian gas, but a domestic gas market which is vulnerable.
Energy Networks Association CEO, John Bradley, said the rapid transformation in the gas market made it essential that Australia’s domestic gas customers were protected by good energy and carbon policy.
Competition Tribunal requires better outcomes for customers
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has welcomed the Australian Competition Tribunal decisions which benefit customers.
The merits appeals decisions relate to the electricity and gas distribution networks in New South Wales and the electricity distribution network in the Australian Capital Territory.
ENA CEO, John Bradley, said today’s decisions provide important clarification to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), networks and other stakeholders about how the National Energy Laws and Rules should be applied to serve the long-term interests of consumers.
More work required to ensure energy system security
Energy Networks Association (ENA) CEO, John Bradley, said the findings of a joint study released today show that the high penetration of renewable energy in Australia is stretching our energy system’s resilience.
The study by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and ElectraNet, operator of South Australia’s transmission network, sought to identify the limits to the secure operation of the South Australian power system.
“This study places Australia at the frontier of managing large scale system security issues,” Mr Bradley said.
Refreshed stocktake to help renewables work with the grid
The Energy Networks Association (ENA), in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has released an updated database of Australian and international renewable energy grid integration projects.
The Integrating Renewables into the Grid Stocktake catalogues 208 projects that add to Australia’s collective knowledge and experience of integrating renewable energy into distribution networks.
ENA CEO John Bradley said Australia’s electricity grid was the backbone of the energy system and would play a vital role in Australia’s clean energy future.
A bright gas future for customers and the environment
Gas is the missing piece in policies for Australia’s long-term energy transition, according to a new publication issued by Australia’s energy industry.
Three gas industry associations are calling for coherent energy policy frameworks to unlock the benefits of natural gas for Australian households and businesses in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Australia’s Bright Gas Future, a publication from the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) highlights the significant benefits of natural gas and the need for policies that support energy security and carbon abatement ambitions.
Keeping the cost of gas in Victoria down
Australia’s 4.5 million gas customers face unnecessary supply uncertainty due to unclear development arrangements for the development of unconventional gas resources, the Energy Networks Association (ENA)said today.
Responding to the release of the Victorian Parliaments Inquiry into onshore unconventional gas in Victoria Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley said that is vital that unnecessary barriers to supply gas to the Australian domestic gas market are removed.
“Australian gas customers and Australian jobs depend on gas resources being developed in a timely way under robust regulatory frameworks,” Mr Bradley said.
Customers in Control of Australia’s Energy Future
Australia’s energy system will see a historic transfer of power from energy utilities to customers, according to the Interim Report of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap project.
In an Australian first, the CSIRO and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) are partnering to develop a ten year transition plan for the electricity sector which is focused on customers and developed with stakeholders.
“The big shift in our energy future is the transfer of decision-making and control from a handful of energy utilities to millions of Australian customers,” ENA CEO John Bradley said.
“CSIRO’s latest analysis shows more than $224 billion – or more than a quarter - of all electricity system expenditure to 2050 is likely to be made by consumers.
Falling gas prices are good for consumers, but innovation is too
Gas networks in South Australia and the ACT will deliver falling network charges to gas customers in draft decisions by the Australian Energy Regulator for Australian Gas Networks and ActewAGL.
Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley said falling gas network charges meant lower retail gas bills for customers using this low-emission energy source.
“Falling network costs is good news for customers and it is good news for the environment given the environmental benefits of natural gas.
Australia’s Gas Pipelines Connected to a Low Emissions Future
The Energy Networks Association welcomes further progress to connected Australian gas markets with the announcement today that Jemena has been selected to build and operate the North East Gas Interconnector pipeline
ENA CEO John Bradley said the ENA welcomed the opportunities for Australia’s gas-hungry industry, commercial and residential customers to be connected to new supply sources via efficient network infrastructure.
“Australia’s gas supplies have a vital role to play in lowering the carbon intensity of Australia’s industry, commercial and residential customers as part of our long-term energy transition.
Energy Governance Review Delivers The Right Blueprint At The Right Time
The Review of Energy Market Governance final report provides a clear blueprint to reinvigorate energy reform in Australia for better outcomes for consumers.
Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley welcomed the report, released today, on the Review of Governance Arrangements for Australian Energy Markets by an independent expert panel chaired by Dr Michael Vertigan AC.
“The Expert Panel has delivered Australia’s energy ministers the right blueprint, at the right time for energy reform in Australia,” Mr Bradley said.
ENA congratulates new Minister, pays tribute to Ian Macfarlane
The Energy Networks Association today congratulates the Hon Josh Frydenberg on his appointment as Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia and acknowledges the leadership and service of outgoing Minister, The Hon Ian Macfarlane.
ENA CEO, John Bradley, said that Minister Frydenberg takes on the energy portfolio at a time of significant change in the sector, with a important task ahead in progressing reform.
“Under the umbrella of COAG Energy Council, Federal and State Governments have identified an important reform agenda for the energy sector, particularly with regard to the transition to a cleaner energy system, electricity network tariff reform, and support for vulnerable customers.
“Evidence-based policy processes should guide our focus in continued energy reform,” Mr Bradley said.
It’s ‘Game On’ in energy competition … not ‘Game Over’
New claims that Australia’s gas consumption will collapse in the next 10 years are wildly premature, the Energy Networks Association said today.
The Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) has claimed that higher wholesale gas prices and more competitive Reverse Cycle Air conditioning would see Eastern Australian gas consumption halve in 10 years.
“Gas has always competed as a fuel of choice and Australia should not lose sight of the benefits of dual fuel energy networks to our households and economy,“ ENA CEO John Bradley said.
Time for a Circuit Breaker in Carbon & Energy Policy
Australia needs to “get its house in order” on energy and carbon frameworks, if it is to meet the Australian Government’s post 2020 emissions targets announced today without unnecessary costs to energy customers.
Energy Networks Association Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said Australia’s energy system could meet or exceed the Government’s emissions reduction targets of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, but the cost to energy customers would be high if policy frameworks were not fixed.
“Australia’s electricity networks are vital to meeting and beating these targets – by connecting new renewable sources of supply, allowing the phase out of emission intensive generation and unlocking benefits of small and large solar, storage and demand management.
Reorienting regulation for Australian energy customers
Australia’s energy consumers are witnessing the most significant industry disruption since electrification and the regulatory framework is yet to catch up, a network industry conference will hear today.
Key energy leaders including Energy Consumers Australia Chair, Louise Sylvan, Australian Energy Regulator Chair Paula Conboy and the CEO of the largest Australian gas distributor, Ben Wilson, will address the ENA conference in Brisbane, ‘Reorienting Regulation’.
The forum will focus on how energy regulation can stimulate, rather than frustrate, innovation in network services and new markets in distributed generation, storage and demand management; and customer’s need for choice and control in their energy use.
WA electricity reform good news for consumers
Western Australian electricity customers will be better off under national energy reforms to be introduced by the WA Government.
Energy Networks Association Chief Executive Officer John Bradley welcomed the update by Treasurer and Minister for Energy Mike Nahan to the COAG Energy Council meeting in Perth.
“The WA Government is taking the right steps to reform Western Australia’s challenging electricity market for households and businesses,” Mr Bradley said.
“As the engine room of the Australian economy, WA urgently needs a modern electricity market and regulation to unlock competition and put downward pressure on prices.”
Great news for customers in falling gas prices
Falling gas network charges are delivering savings to Australian customers and benefits for the environment.
The Energy Networks Association has welcomed lower gas network charges being passed on by gas network companies despite difficult market conditions.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, pointed to the latest round of gas network decisions and regulatory proposals that highlight a bright future for natural gas in Australia.
“While there is a lot of talk about higher wholesale gas prices, Australia’s 4.5 million gas users are benefiting from much lower network charges, which are a larger portion of the retail bill due to the costs associated with supporting 88,000 kilomentres of pipeline and 4.5 million connections,” Mr Bradley said.
Solar leasing - another great use of the Integrated Grid
The Energy Networks Association welcomes the recent announcement by the US solar giant, Sun Edison of a new solar leasing offer in the energy market.
Energy Networks Association Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said the solar market in Australia was among the most competitive in the world.
“These kind of innovative products provide another option for customers to take up new energy technologies made possible by the integrated electricity network.
“Australian electricity networks have connected over 1.4 million solar installations and welcome innovative solar products which encourage more consumer choice and the economic use of new technology.”
More Benefits For Vulnerable in Shopping Around Than Assistance
Independent research shows vulnerable energy customers could benefit more from shopping around than from government assistance – with savings up to 5 times the value of the government assistance.
The Energy Networks Association has released analysis, Supporting Vulnerable Energy Customers, showing that in every state in Australia, the potential benefits to vulnerable customers who shop around exceed the government financial assistance.
ENA CEO John Bradley today called on Australian governments to undertake a national review of assistance to vulnerable consumers, including not only the financial assistance they provide but the support for participation in complex retail markets.
“Sweeping changes in energy use and new technology means a national review of assistance is required.
Lower Costs and Customer Choice Drives New Network Proposals
Victorian electricity customers will experience reduced network charges as early as 2016 under new regulatory proposals lodged by the Victorian distribution businesses.
The proposals, lodged by the five distribution businesses servicing Victorian electricity customers will provide decreases in network charges of up to $138 in some areas.
Energy Networks Association CEO, John Bradley, said that the proposals have been developed after extensive consumer consultation, engaging in new ways to receive important feedback on the priorities of electricity customers.
“Electricity affordability is a key issue for electricity customers, but the evidence is that they are not prepared to compromise the safe and reliable delivery of electricity.
Networks Deliver Lower Charges – But Caution Needed
Australian electricity customers are benefiting as network cost-saving initiatives, lower financing costs and reduced demand pressures flow through in regulatory decisions.
Energy Networks Association Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said lower charges across networks would provide significant benefits to small and large customers.
The AER has proposed total funding reductions of around $6.5 billion across affected network businesses, or over $100 million per month.
“It’s important to get the balance right - or we run the risk of higher catchup spending and greater price volatility for customers in future.
Senate Proposals Increase Risk And Energy Bills
A new Senate Inquiry report may see higher costs for energy consumers with increased regulatory risk.
The Interim Report of a Senate Committee on Performance and management of electricity network companies recommends an expert review of regulation to allow network assets to be written down.
Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley said the Committee had provided no analysis of the costs and benefits to consumers of the higher risk, regulatory framework.
“Evidence continues to show regulatory risk is the number one concern for energy investors in Australia – and sovereign risk is becoming an increasing focus,” Mr Bradley said.
Energy White Paper sets course for Consumer Benefits
Customers stand to benefit from a smarter, fairer energy market if the Energy White Paper released by the Australian Government today is implemented.
Energy Networks Association (ENA) CEO, John Bradley, said the White Paper provided a sensible policy framework to enable consumers to take control of their energy use with new information, fairer pricing and emerging technologies.
“The Energy White Paper has rightly focused on the need to modernise Australia’s outdated electricity tariff structures, to reward customers who use off-peak energy and avoid unnecessary investments,” Mr Bradley said.
WA electricity customers to benefit from reforms
Western Australian electricity consumers will be the beneficiaries of new energy choices and national regulation of electricity networks announced by the Western Australian Government today.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has welcomed the Electricity Market Review Options Paper and the response from the Western Australian Government.
The Government’s announcement is good news for customers in Western Australia who will benefit from nationally consistent economic regulation of networks and frameworks supporting innovation in customer services, ENA CEO John Bradley said.
"Retail competition will see retailers competing on the price and service benefits they can offer consumers and we are likely to see more rewarding tariff structures for customers who reduce peak demand," Mr Bradley said.
Networks Support Increased Demand Management
The Energy Networks Association has strongly supported changes to national electricity rules which would support alternative options to manage peak demand, without building new infrastructure.
Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley said today electricity networks support a level playing field for “non-network” solutions like demand management, to ensure all options are on the table to provide efficient, safe and reliable services to customers.
“The Network sector welcomed this recommendation in the 2012 Power of Choice report and it is unfinished business in the energy reform agenda,” Mr Bradley said.
Energy Networks welcome strong Consumer Advocate
The Energy Networks Association welcomes the establishment of Energy Consumers Australia and the appointment of its inaugural Board.
ENA Chief Executive Officer John Bradley said the body would play a critical role in leading consumer advocacy across Australia on energy related issues.
"It is fantastic to see the formation of Energy Consumers Australia with its strong suite of Board members, led by Louise Sylvan as Chair.
A new standard in fairer, more affordable power
Australian households could save an average of up to $250 per year in electricity bills and avoid unfair cross subsidies of up to $650 per year under a proposed new standard for network tariff reform.
Australia’s electricity transmission and distribution network providers have proposed a national approach to fast-track the benefits of electricity tariffs which reward consumers for contributing to lower network costs.
Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley today released the Position Paper Towards a National Approach to Electricity Network Tariff Reform and independent analysis addressing the benefits of fairer electricity prices in Australia.
Caution needed to avoid electricity customer impacts
Unsustainable funding cuts to electricity networks proposed by the Australian Energy Regulator threaten to undermine reliability, safety and efficiency outcomes for customers.
Energy Networks Association Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said the network sector recognized the price pressures on electricity customers and the need to deliver cost savings and efficient performance. Network businesses proposed real capital expenditure reductions of over 30% compared to the last regulatory period. The AER has largely accepted TasNetworks Tasmanian transmission proposal.
Mr Bradley said the AER has proposed real reductions to current operating expenditures totaling $2.7 billion or 35% over the next five years for electricity transmission and distribution network businesses in NSW and ACT
Integration, not ‘defection’, the future of energy
New economic research has highlighted the significant benefits to customers of their electricity grid connection.
While recent advances in solar and storage technology mean customers could choose to leave the grid entirely, the independent analysis by Oakley Greenwood shows it is unlikely to deliver better financial outcomes or services.
Energy Networks Association CEO John Bradley said the study quantifies the often “hidden” services that customers receive from the Grid, and how much it would cost a customer to supply themselves..
RET Talks Welcome – But Outdated Solar Subsidies Should be on the Table
The Energy Networks Association has welcomed bi-partisan talks on a workable Renewable Energy Target scheme, but warned out-dated solar subsidies must be on the table.
ENA Chief Executive Officer, John Bradley, said key flaws in the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) need to be addressed to avoid unfair cross-subsidies and higher bills for some consumers.
Mr Bradley said recent analysis by CORE Energy Group demonstrated Government solar policies were a key factor influencing whether retail gas prices will rise or fall in future...
Australia’s energy consumers don’t need another inquiry
A new Senate Inquiry on electricity network regulation appears more focused on politics, than better outcomes for electricity consumers, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said today.
ENA CEO John Bradley said there were existing independent institutions empowered to address the issues listed in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.
“A comprehensive review of Australia’s electricity network regulations was completed over 2012 and 2013 and the independent regulator is currently assessing the first round of full determinations,” Mr Bradley said.
Hidden solar subsidies paid by gas consumers
New analysis released by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) finds that gas bills for residential and commercial customers would be about $50 per year (or 5.4%) lower in 2034 than current levels if distortionary subsidies to solar technology paid for by energy customers were removed.
ENA CEO, John Bradley said many of Australia’s 4.5 million household gas users and 120,000 business gas users would be surprised to learn that Government policy on solar technology is one of the key factors determining whether their prices will rise or fall in future.
He said the analysis, by Core Energy Group, highlights the risk that government policy settings could unnecessarily distort the ability of gas to compete as a ‘fuel of choice’ for consumers..